Interactive GIS

Treat GIS Maps as Data

Interactive GIS access in our projects has enabled us to create data, and assemble it with other information. It shows on the screens well-known to our clients. One tactic we have used since GIS maps became commonplace (about 2000), is to treat GIS Maps as Data. We show these GIS images and interactive maps to our clients in a variety of ways. We use the ESRI interface (shown below) allowing viewers to zoom into an area to examine hazard mitigation measures. Viewers propose layout designs, or inspect habitat modifications detailed in written materials.

Data Analytics

Treat GIS Maps as Data

We have prepared Interactive GIS data for GIS programs used by our clients. We place new GIS data into their programs of choice:

The power of these programs rests in their format as members of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). These software platforms are enabled through a share-ware format. There is no cost to download, install and use the software. Most of these platforms can display GIS data through a web interface.

Interactive GIS Mapping Example

Benewah County has witnessed some significant disasters throughout history. One notable event was the August 1910 Wildfire, which charred over 3.0 million acres within the region. Approximately 87,500 acres (35,400 hectares) were burned in Benewah County alone. This inferno resulted in over $1.0 million in damages at the time (1910). The total death toll has been estimated at over 300 lives. This event has been well known as “The 1910 Fire” and “The Big Blowup”. Other large wildfire events impacting Benewah County have included wildfires:

  • 1900 (21,240 acres),
  • 1889 (11,500 acres),
  • 1927-28 (6,700 acres),
  • 1931 (5,000 acres),
  • 1919 (4,700 acres),
  • 1929 (3,400 acres),
  • 1969 (1,400 acres),
  • 1932-33 (1,100 acres),
  • 1922-23 (170 acres), and
  • 1927 (90 acres).

Each of these events indiscriminately crossed county and state boundaries to char lands in the path of the inferno. Although some of these blazes appear to be small, the size shown here only reflects the impact on Benewah County. For instance, the 1927 wildfire event torched a total of 28,300 acres in Benewah County and adjoining areas.

Planning Committees Make Actionable Projects

The Wildfire Mitigation Plan update is designed to keep the County’s focus on the positive benefits. We have been involved in emergency management with Benewah County since these activities were initiated in 2004. Wildfire spread has been limited, and homes have not been destroyed to the extent they could have been. Preventative measures can reduce, or eliminate, catastrophic disaster events, and save lives. For these reasons, several agencies, organizations, businesses and people jointed planning efforts:

At the bottom of this page is an Interactive GIS map showing the potential mitigation measures we developed. These were each identified for implementation by the cooperating agencies and organizations. Many of these activities were implemented and made a real difference in the lives of Benewah County Residents. This type of Interactive GIS map made available through web access to the planning team is effective. Cooperators continued to access this page for many years after the planning document was adopted.

Mission Statement

Make Benewah County residents, communities, and businesses less vulnerable to the negative effects of natural hazards. Complete this through the effective administration of hazard mitigation grant programs, hazard risk assessments, and wise and efficient mitigation measures. This is a coordinated approach to mitigation policy through county, Tribal, state, federal, regional, and local planning efforts. The combined prioritization is the protection of people, structures, infrastructure, economy, and unique ecosystems. These contribute to our way of life and the sustainability of the local and regional economy.

Vision Statement

Institutionalize and promote a county-wide hazard mitigation ethic through leadership, professionalism, and excellence, leading the way to a safe, sustainable Benewah County, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and local municipalities.


The Benewah County Wildland-Urban Interface Wildfire Mitigation Planning Committee has adopted a series of primary goals. These are intended to benefit each populated place, municipality, and the county’s residents and visitors.

  • Reduce the area of land damaged and losses experienced because of natural hazards where these risks threaten communities in the county.
  • Prioritize the protection of people, structures, infrastructure, and unique ecosystems that contribute to our way of life and the sustainability of the local and regional economy.
  • Educate communities about the unique challenges of pre-disaster hazard mitigation and post-disaster response.
  • Establish mitigation priorities and develop mitigation strategies.
  • Strategically locate, plan, and implement hazard reduction projects.
  • Provide recommendations for alternative treatment methods that can impact the exposure to multiple hazards at one time.
  • Promote and implement disaster-resistant development policies.
  • Build and support local capacity to enable the local government and the community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
  • Reduce the threats to public health and safety posed by natural hazards.
  • Establish mitigation priorities and develop mitigation strategies.
  • Reduce the long-term costs of disaster recovery and disaster mitigation through intelligent and strategic mitigation policies and practices.
  • Identify and facilitate the management for sustainable land use in light of natural hazards and our management of the land resources.



Click the image to download the PDF

Interactive GIS Map! link hosted by ESRI