Project G: Geospatial Analysis of fire and environmental risks

This project will apply geospatial data analyses and visualization methods to enhance and augment situational awareness around fire safety in California. The first cut of this effort will focus on the categorization and analyses of fire/pollution/environmental risk for local micro-environments. The higher aim will be to demonstrate the value of cutting game engines for visualizing complex environments & also as a tool for simulating policy interventions in a virtual reality setting. These interventions can include simulating the optimized deployment of low-cost sensors, visualization of multimodal data streams from diverse sensors, the identification & simulation of potentially ideal fire evacuation routes, highlighting fire fuel mixes, etc. The grand vision is to explore the feasibility and usefulness of virtual mirror-worlds of the natural environment for improving fire safety policy.


Research Questions:

  • Can the use of a combination GIS and AR/VR help improve situational awareness on environmental risks?
  • What role can gaming engines play in improving environmental risk awareness? E.g. for intervention simulation?
  • Can such enhancements to situational awareness improve partnership and dissemination with local communities?

Sample Tasks:

  1. Geospatial data ingest and analysis for selected environmental hazard (e.g. fire, pollution) + Geo-visualization.
    1. Explore value of GIS tools
    2. Scope down policy implications analyses to specific communities
  2. Geo-visualization experiments in traditional + game-engine workflows
    1. Experiments on AR/VR intervention simulation in game-engine
  3. Experiments on infrastructure to track/evaluate local claims of environmental hazard exposure (“Snopes for Maps”)
  4. Community partnership/communication to disseminate insights
    1. Link up with Project E to id relevant voice-/insight-starved communities


  • Geo-visualization of sample risks in communities
  • Demonstration of the application of Equity Lenses in tool development
  • Community engagement plans