GISS workstation at Evans Canyon Fire 2020

Maps are powerful

Data are just numbers and letters in rows and columns unless analyzed and presented in an intelligible way. The best way to analyze and present many types of data is geographically. If it can be mapped, it can be understood. Smarter decisions can be made based on the spatial relationships between data points.

Thanks for visiting this site, where I post thoughts about maps and GIS. Expect to see mostly class projects from my 2020-2021 studies in the Online Geospatial Certificate Program at Humboldt State University, but I will also post some of the work I do for the agencies with which I work, though anonymized or generalized to protect the innocent.

Toward a complete SAR base map

Mapping in search and rescue is both a key part of a successful mission and a mess. Truly, it’s an absolute mess. Ideally, everyone would be looking at the same map. The map would be complete — all area trails, roads, former roads, points of interest, etc. Whatever device is used by ground teams to […]

Assessing hydrant coverage within a fire district

For the final project for a class, I took a look at how to delineate the area of a fire district that can reasonably be serviced by existing fire hydrants. The topic came up because firefighters are interested in seeing how far they can stretch an engine’s large-diameter hose from the nearest hydrant. They could […]

Draft fire template with FAA elevation

I spent some time during a fire toward the end of the Pacific Northwest season working on a draft template to replace the standard one used for printed map products on wildland fires. There is certainly precedent for spending more time making the template than on making a good map — just add lots of […]


About me

I am Matt Stewart of Port Townsend, Washington, and most relevant to this website is the fact that I love putting data on maps.

I pay the bills working in local government and am also a firefighter/EMT, wildland firefighter, search-and-rescue volunteer, amateur-radio operator and occasional marathon runner. More

Get in Touch

Reach out by email if you have feedback, questions or want to talk maps:

ms *at* this domain