Mapping of Destroyed Buildings in Fire Zones

Hello. I’m wondering what the policy is on and how to deal with the mapping of buildings in areas that have been destroyed by the recent fires. I ask because the town of Paradise was never mapped before and got essentially burned down recently. So now some humanitarian type mappers are mapping buildings there. Despite the fact that fire is still on going and there’s probably nothing left. There is an “official” map by Butte County GIS as to which buildings have been burned, but from what I have seen there’s no evidence that the mappers are using it. A similar thing happened with the Carr Fire. Someone from a newspaper in Las Angeles mapped houses that had been destroyed for what I assume was a news story they were working on about the fire.

While I might see the utility of mapping disaster areas in “third world” countries where its not clear yet what has been destroyed or not, I feel like in instances like this, where its pretty clear the places are no longer there, the areas are just being mapped because they are the latest shiny, current, object in the news instead of any practical reasons. Therefore, its essentially mapping no longer existing features just for the novelty of it. I know there are the new rules about “group” mapping to. Although, I’m not sure if it would apply in this situation or not.

Taking that into consideration, along with the fact that the satellite photos won’t be updated for a long time either, which people are using to map things that are not there anymore, is there a good way to get people stop mapping the areas until they are rebuilt and the data exists to do it properly? Like, I don’t know, turn the whole town/area into a brown field or construction zone until then or something?

Maybe there should be something like a “disaster zone” landuse tag that could be used to temporarily map areas where things like this have happened to designate that it is in a state of flux and isn’t currently functional in its normal sense. Along with denoting the dangerous nature of the area. Kind of like with military zones. Especially since these things seem to be increasingly common, large, and they are saying it could take up to a year in the case of Paradise at least before the town is fully usable again. Let alone who knows how long it will take for there to be new satellite images to map things off of.


Thanks for any feedback


I don’t know that there’s a policy on this type of situation. But my feeling is that if the county GIS has current data, then the destroyed buildings should be marked as building:destroyed=yes (or whatever equivalent fits). That would create a reference point as some buildings eventually get rebuilt later.