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A detailed and highly accurate online NSW Bushfire Community Map has been launched to keep the public informed about evacuation centres, air quality, traffic control issues, emergency alerts, school closures and the current status of the numerous bushfires that continue to threaten NSW communities.

Mapping giant Esri Australia has used Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to layer the interactive map with official, up-to-date data from the Rural Fire Service (RFS), State Emergency Service (SES), Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Department of Transport and other key government agencies.

The map also features real-time social media feeds, with geo-located Twitter updates providing an eye-witness account of what’s unfolding in affected areas.

The map is freely available to government agencies, media and members of the public to access, share and embed in their own websites.

Esri Australia technical specialist Gary Johnson said a team of Australian developers worked with disaster response experts in the United States to quickly create the online map so the community can have key emergency information at their fingertips.

“This is the only real-time map of its kind and it is providing an extremely detailed overview of the situation based on official information from multiple government agencies, as well as crowdsourced social media updates,” Mr Johnson said.

“The map uses the same cutting-edge GIS technology that is used by emergency services groups nationwide – and it is interactive and user-friendly so anyone can quickly grasp what the situation is in their communities.

“We are urging people to contribute to the map through Twitter, to provide their own eye-witness accounts of the situation as it unfolds.”

Members of the public can add their own updates to the NSW Bushfire Community Map by enabling location services on their social media accounts and smartphone and using fire-related hashtags such as #nswfires.

Please note: the NSW Bushfire Community Map is no longer accessible. To learn more about other innovative tools implemented across Australia's emergency services landscape, visit: esriaustralia.com.au/gis-in-emergency-services

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