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Starting fires in national parks - A proof of concept Python toolkit for effective landscape fuel hazard management

Project: Fire risk evaluation proof of concept

Since the 2009 Victorian Bushfires there has been a major funding increase to allow fuel reduction burns in national parks in NSW. The first recommendation (Review of performance targets for bushfire fuel management on public land 2015) is that the government moves towards a risk reduction target rather than the current hectarue target. An evidentiary method of proposing burns based on ISO 31000 Risk management - principles and guidelines (2009) was built into a manual workflow using Esri's ArcGIS suite. The next step was to automate the process as much as possible. To do this we built a suite of tools using Python in ArcGIS and in Pandas. This meant that we could spend more time making sure our calculations were correct and we understood the data rather than spending time re-creating ways to read tables and perform calculations.

In this talk we'll cover the suite of tools we built and a workflow for a user, and what this means for environmental policy in the department and NSW. We'll talk about ways we step between automation and using tools like Excel which our Environmental managers are very familiar with, but which don't always lend themselves to consistent input. And we'll talk about how building this suite not only does the calculations for us, but also records the metadata at every step along the trail, so we can provide evidence of how we made our decisions.

Henry Walshaw

Henry heads Spatial Vision's enterprise GIS development team, designing, developing, implementing and supporting spatially based software systems. Henry is also the Spatial Analysis trainer for Python Charmers, a Melbourne based company delivering public and customised private Python training courses where he teaches Python for GIS using open source libraries.
He brings a wealth of experience and expertise amassed over more than 10 years designing and implementing spatial solutions at a number of well-known organisations including Geoscience Australia, the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, (DSE), Victorian EPA, SKM and We-Do IT.

In his spare time Henry is passionate about GIS, Python and Spatial technology. Given how much he uses open source technoogy Henry is keen to keep the community going, so he has built a number of plugins for QGIS (the leading open source GIS application) including a Differential Privacy plugin for anonymising spatial data locations, and he is contributing more to Python geospatial libraries as well where he is responsible for the SVG geometry representation of shapely geometries, and the popup labeling of GeoJSON and Geopandas geodataframes in folium.