Geologic Hazards – Seismic Research in Colorado

Posted: 10th December 2012 by Mark Newby in 3D Navigation

Colorado is famous for proving that injection of fluids into the ground can cause earthquakes. Seismometer networks have been built and are monitored by a number of agencies and research organizations. 3D viewing technology using Google Earth helps the viewer to understand where the networks are located and who should be contacted for information about seismic events.

Click on the image or this link to explore the seismic networks of Colorado. Click on the individual network locations to learn more about each specific seismometer location:
3D viewer for Seismometer Networks

More information on Colorado Earthquakes is available from the Colorado Geological Survey Earthquake page.

Google Earth image of neighborhood with Waldo Canyon fire damage

Fire boundary and aerial photo overlaid using a Google Earth file, showing damage caused by the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs. Click to view larger image.

It is possible to reference an image of any area of the earth’s surface and submit it to a viewer. The technique is known as georeferencing, and it is valuable when you want to view additional information that is precisely referenced to a location on the earth’s surface.
You may download the Google Earth file showing wildfire damage using this link: Waldo Canyon – Wildfire Damage – Google Earth file. Please read the following disclaimer and instructions for use.

WARNING: Black Ice Geospatial LLC is not responsible or liable in any way for the use you may make of the supplied file. It is strictly a development example showing how information may be combined using advanced GIS techniques to provide a new way of visualizing critical information in times of crisis. Please use the data responsibly. It must be understood that the image quality is the best available under the circumstances, and that we are developing protocols that will result in better images as quickly as possible. Any support that you can provide to expand and improve our efforts would be greatly appreciated. Please call 970-480-7740 or email at info@blackicegeospatial.com. What we need is parcel data provided by county authorities, aerial imagery (Digital Globe or GeoEye, are you listening?) and a small amount of funding to use for improved tools for API development.

Only a single neighborhood is shown so far in this example of the initial development using this technique. Our deepest sympathies to the people who lost their homes on Mirror Lake Court and Hot Springs Court in Colorado Springs. If you have property on these streets, this was the first neighborhood for which we were able to acquire an aerial image. Here are instructions to view your property and see if it was involved in the area of the fire. The pink shaded area is the burn area of the fire developed from infrared images, and the photo overlay is courtesy of the Denver Post.

Instructions for use:
1 – Make certain Google Earth is installed on your computer. If you do not have it, use this link: Google Earth Download
2 – Download the KMZ file with the images of wildfire damage from the link above. Store it in a known location in your hard disk. Link: Waldo Canyon – Wildfire Damage – Google Earth file
3 – Open Google Earth and select “File – Open”. Navigate to the downloaded KMZ file and select it.
4 – Using the “Fly To” Search field, enter the address you wish to view. Google Earth will fly you to a hover view over this location.
5 – Use the screen navigation controls to zoom in and out. The image layer may be turned on and off in the Places window to the left of the Google Earth view window to facilitate understanding the data in the image.

This method of viewing the wildfire damage was requested by several phone callers who wanted to know if there was a satellite technology that could give them some idea of whether their property had been affected in the fire. The technology certainly exists, but all resources must be prioritized by the authorities to mitigate and control further fire damage – public notification is necessarily a secondary goal in these situations. This viewing and geographic search protocol is to give people some of that capability as quickly as possible to allow them to make necessary plans to deal with this terrible tragedy, and to illustrate how Black ice Geospatial is Visualizing Unseen Information©.

Waldo Canyon Fire 06/26/2012 thumb and link

Waldo Canyon Fire grows to 15517 acres (24.2 Sq. Miles). Click to view larger image.


The weather, the terrain, and the drought have combined to make the Waldo Canyon Fire a natural disaster such as Colorado Springs has never seen. With over 32,000 people evacuated and more planned, this unprecedented action is being fought with every resource available. The USGS and NIROPS have stepped up with data available for this top priority fire-fighting action in record time. We will keep monitoring this fire and posting updates as soon as received. Please use this link to go to Inciweb.org for up-to-the-minute information of this fire. Please visit the Summit County Citizen’s Voice for comprehensive reporting of this serious natural disaster.

Waldo Canyon fire map thumbnail - link to larger image

Click to view larger image

This visualization of the Waldo Canyon fire shows an accurate snapshot of a moment in time – But the reality of this fire is grim due to nature and unfavorable weather. High winds caused this fire to burn back east into the outskirts of the Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs area and pose a major threat to property. For the latest information on this fire, use this link to the Inciweb site or read the in-depth reporting in the Summit County Citizen’s Voice.
Even though we obtain data on the fire perimeter as quickly as possible, the progress of a wildfire with high winds and heavy fuel load can far outstrip our capability to image and display the actual boundaries in real time. We will continue to monitor and provide the most up-to-date information possible, and make it available in a high-resolution format that may be zoomed in to provide the best possible visualization with available resources.

Waldo Canyon Fire Grows to 3445 acres

Posted: 25th June 2012 by Mark Newby in Wildfire

Waldo Canyon thumbnail and link to larger image

Click to view larger image

This latest map shows the infrared image data acquired by the National Infrared Operations team 06/24/2012 at 2213 hours. The proximity of this fire to a major city area is of great concern to the community and fire officials. The Denver Post reports that Colorado has so many wildfires that it is consuming half of all US firefighting resources. We will try to keep on top of these developments and bring you maps to visualize what you cannot see from the ground – the Unseen Information that is derived from modern remote sensing and mapping technology.
Find more in-depth information and reports at the Summit County Citizen’s Voice, one of Colorado’s leading digital news sources on the environment and community issues unique to our beautiful state.

A Google Earth file is not yet available from the Fire Incident Command. Please use this link to download a KMZ file of the 6/24/2012 fire perimeter created by Black Ice. Thanks to our readers for commenting and asking that this be created. Waldo Canyon Google Earth file – 6/24/2012

Understanding special needs of the community often results from reporting critical information on large-scale events. We have received many requests from people who want to know if there is a way to see if their property is affected by the Waldo Canyon fire. The answer is a resounding yes. Last year during the Crystal Mountain fire west of Loveland Colorado, I suggested to the US Forest Service that Google Earth files could be easily created to advise and inform the public. This has now become a standard part of their protocol, but we need to close the loop with the public. The following image is a link to the KMZ file of the Waldo Canyon fire. Download it and read the article following the image to understand how to use it for a 3D exploration of the entire fire or your specific property in this area.

Google Earth image - link to KMZ for Waldo Canyon Fire

Click image to download 6-23-2012 Waldo Canyon KMZ file for Google Earth. Photo courtesy of Google Earth, KMZ file courtesy National Infrared Operations (NIROPS)


Once you have downloaded the file, your system may automatically associate the file type with a Google Earth plug-in installed in your browser. If not, save the file to a location you can easily remember, and then run Google Earth. Select File-Open and browse to the location you saved the file. Google Earth will automatically “fly” you to a position hovering over the Waldo Canyon fire boundaries. Us this link to acquire Google Earth if you do not have it already installed: Google Earth Download – Courtesy Black ice Geospatial LLC
This will also address the needs of property owners and families wanting to know if the fire is near or has already burnt in the area of their property. By entering the address of any property into the Fly To field, Google Earth will provide a birds-eye view of the property you wish to see. Remember, this is not a static map, it is a 3D dynamic presentation. Be sure to use the Navigation console to Zoom In, change Eye Angle and Direction of View and pan to any desired point.
Please write us and suggest areas you would like to explore and what you would like to know about them. Check Black Ice Geospatial for many more Google Earth 3D developments and links to views that help you Visualize Unseen Information©.

Waldo Canyon 6-23-12 @2307 thumbnail image

Click to view larger image


The amazing data created by aerial imaging using infrared cameras is a modern technological miracle. Teams of experts acquire and perform a process called orthorectification, which makes the camera images usable in a modern Geographic Information System (GIS). The result is extremely accurate heat perimeter information to assist and support firefighting teams in controlling these uncontrolled burns.
This map does not show the area burned today, 6-24-2012, but it is a precision image of the fire at the time of the overflight, and gives a very good idea of the proximity of the fire to Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods. As this fire progresses, Black Ice Geospatial will update the map with the latest information so viewers may see how we create cartography that helps to Visualize Unseen Information©.
Many thanks to our internet hosting service One World Hosting for assistance in making this public service possible. Their generous provision of bandwidth for this data-intensive cartography is a true community service from an outstanding organization. Click on the name above or the logo below if you want to create an internet domain on a first-class full-service host platform with the best support in the business.
OneWorld Hosting logo

Click to see OneWorld Hosting’s website

Waldo Canyon wildfire thumbnail image

Click to view larger image


When a wildfire is close to a major city and threatens property and homes, the speed at which people can acquire information about where the fire is becomes critical. Aerial images from Infrared cameras are often not available to anyone except the fire operations commanders, so other resources may be utilized to approximate the location of these wildfire incidents.
To create this generalized image, data was acquired from the NOAA Satellite and Information Service and carefully plotted into a GIS. These points were combined to create an approximate area that is threatened by the wildfire. In previous usage of this method, the correlation between the aggregated area and the actual IR fire boundaries was on the order of 86% of accurate coverage.
Black Ice Geospatial LLC is Visualizing Unseen Information© using the best data available. Sometimes the only data available is orbiting hundreds of miles above the earth.

High Park Fire – 93 Sq. Miles, 55% Contained

Posted: 20th June 2012 by Mark Newby in Uncategorized

High Park fire thumbnail image

Click to view Full Size image

The lack of information from the National Infrared Operations (NIROPS) team has delayed updates to the High Park Fire from this source, but the beauty of modern information systems is that even though one source may decide to arbitrarily withhold information from the public, there are multiple ways to acquire data from high quality, transparent organizations whose mission is to advise and support citizens with public information.
The High Park fire has experienced a few days of high winds making the job of the firefighters very difficult. The focus of operations is now to increasingly contain the fire and to prevent it from spreading into areas with high fuel loads. Colorado has large areas of beetle-killed timber that pose a serious wildfire threat.
It is a serious decision to being in heavy equipment and begin building fire breaks with bulldozers, one the Forest Service does not take lightly. In this fire, it is a wise decision to take this measure to halt its advance.

High Park Fire at 49763 Acres (77.8 Sq. Miles)

Posted: 15th June 2012 by Mark Newby in Wildfire

High Park Fire map 06/14/2012

High Park fire 15% contained, still growing on western perimeter. Click on image to enlarge.

Our apologies to viewers for any outages they may have encountered. This new method of integrating and providing the wildfire information has placed enormous demand on the site. We have upgraded to greater capacity and are monitoring the site closely to try and ensure availability of this critical community data.
The latest infrared boundary information may be viewed using this link: High Park Wildfire in Google Earth.
Please visit the Summit County Citizen’s Voice to see in-depth reporting on this fire.
The mission of Black Ice Geospatial LLC is to produce better ways to view vital resources to facilitate the best possible decisions and actions for individuals and communities. Hidden data is of no value, so we Visualize Unseen Information© to reveal what you want to know.