Monday, March 12, 2007

California Wildfires: Where are you?

There are wildfires in southern California. I know it, because I've seen it on the tv and Internet news sites (such as Yahoo! News and Google News) also have stories about the fires. The wildfires have been big stories for the last few days. But, aside from knowing that the fires are somewhere near Anaheim or are in Orange county, just try to figure out—using the Internet—exactly where the fires are. Go ahead, try.

I've got relatives who live somewhere east of Los Angeles. I know the name of their city, and I know where their city is located; but, I've had a devil of a time figuring out where their city is in relation to the wildfires.

You would think that in this age of the Internet the various online news services would place, within their stories about the wildfires, a link to a map showing the locations of the fires. You'd think it would be easy for either Yahoo! News or Google News, considering each have their own mapping tools. Nope. How about ABC News or CNN? Nope. None of the online news services seem to feel the necessity of providing a map showing the fire locations. What's up with that?

The GeoMac (Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination) website allows you to find the wildfires on an interactive map. However, the interactive interface for this site leaves a lot to be desired. It's better than nothing, though.

So, I'm left with trying to figure it out myself. I eventually did, and I now know that my relatives are in a safe area. But why couldn't it have been easier?