(KTXL) — On Wednesday, the University of California San Diego launched AlertCalifornia, a new public safety program that will utilize over 1,000 cameras across the state to track wildfires.
This new tool allows the public and first responders the ability to prepare, respond and recover from natural disasters across the state.
Other websites exist that provide the same base camera views as AlertCalifornia, but the new service will offer more eyes in the sky and a whole host of new features.
Here is a list of some of the top new features offered by AlertCalifornia.
Most Recent Camera Movements
When first entering the AlertCalifornia website, visitors will be shown a map of California with nearly countless cameras to choose from across the state, along with a grid showing live camera views.
The top four cameras shown are the ones that have been moved most recently. These cameras will also display a time-stamp showing when the camera was last moved.
This can be helpful for quickly finding a camera that gives the best view of a newly spotted fire or other natural disaster.
Many times wildfires in California are named after a nearby roadway, like the Mosquito Fire, which burned along Mosquito Ridge Road in Foresthill.
The new address search feature allows you to type in the address or GPS coordinates of where a fire is reported to be. This will automatically zoom in on the map and show you the closest cameras.
It will also change your live video grid to only show the cameras in the area of the address you search. When you zoom back out more camera views will be shown.
This can be helpful if a fire agency has shared the city, street or exact address of where a fire is and you are trying to narrow down which cameras will provide the best image.
Draw a Polygon
This is one of the most interesting and powerful of the new features available on AlertCalifornia.
By clicking on the pentagon-shaped icon on the map view, you are able to create a unique shape around a certain group of cameras by dropping points on the map.
The shape can cover any amount of area and include up to 100 cameras.
Once the shape is done, you click finish and are brought to a page that will display all of the cameras in your selected area.
From here you can click the “customize” button and delete the cameras you don’t want, add other cameras and create a custom URL that can be shared out.
Like the other features that have been mentioned, the “draw a polygon” tool helps save a lot of time when finding the best camera to monitor and document a wildfire’s progress.
Panorama and Indicated Coverage Area
AlertCalifornia’s panorama feature is displayed once a certain camera is selected. It will display at the lower portion of the screen and by using the slider bar on the bottom you are able to move around the image.
In the top right corner, there is a timer that shows the last time the image was updated.
Using the arrow keys brings you back in time to previous images of the camera. The timer and the time stamp of the image will change when you cycle through the different images.
One other feature that works in tandem with the panorama is the indicated coverage area.
Once you click on a given camera a purple cone will appear on the map indicating where the camera is pointing and how wide or narrow the coverage area is. It also indicates the maximum viewing distance of the camera
As you move your cursor, you will see a red line appear on the map that will show you what direction that section of the panorama is pointed towards.
Some of the cameras may appear as dots, and these cameras are hosted on the Alert Wildfire website, and selecting them will take you to the Alert Wildfire site for that camera.
The majority of these cameras are located around Lake Tahoe, but there are some located in the Bay Area and North Coast.
Some cameras will display a colored line on the main California map. These colored lines indicate when the camera was last moved.
A purple line indicates less than five minutes, a red line means less than 15 minutes, an orange line means less than one hour, a light purple line means less than two hours and a yellow line means less than three hours.