Israeli firefighters use Google Maps to help save homes and lives


There are many important jobs in the world, such as nurses, police officers and doctors to name a few. However, firefighters are near and dear to me, as I endured losing my home to a fire. The flames and smoke are very scary, ruining everything in their path. Anything left was destroyed by the water from the hoses, but, I survived. The brave firefighters worked hard to save me and my home and are true heroes.

All firefighters are heroes, regardless of what part of the world they protect. Israel’s Fire and Rescue Commission saves many lives and homes every year, and they have a tool in their arsenal that is helping them to fight fires. No, it is not a new hose or truck, it is Google Maps.

"After the devastating Mt. Carmel fire in December 2010, which killed 44 people, injured dozens, and wiped out nearly 40,000 acres of forest, senior officers at the Fire and Rescue Commission realized we needed a more advanced fire alert system. This prompted our decision to deploy mapping technology from Google", says Uzi Bashan, Fire Officer with Israel's Fire and Rescue Commission.

Bashan further says, "using Google Earth Enterprise as our main GIS mapping platform, each call center operator has two screens -- one displaying information from the national system, and the other displaying maps with Google Earth. Google Earth maps, with customized data layers, are automatically updated in real-time to show exactly where fires are and which firefighters are the closest to them. What used to take minutes now takes seconds".

This is a great example of how technology is used to save lives and improve the world. For many, Google's Maps and Earth services are things to play with or a way to get directions to a rock concert. As you can see though, the technologies that we take for granted are much larger than that. Thanks to Google's technologies, people's lives are actually being saved and that should be applauded.

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