Satellite Images Overlay and Remote Sensing


NEW High Resolution Satellite Images from FORMOSAT-2 (Click HERE)  


NASA  MODIS Satellite Images: (The MODIS images are the most useful satellite images for monitoring wildfires.   MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is a senor instrument aboard the Terra (EOS AM) and Aqua (EOS PM) satellites. The images are updated twice per day (one shot from Terra and one shot from Aqua).


Fuel Moisture Map (created by Madhura Niphadkar and Doug Stow)

This map depicts relative amounts of live fuel moisture (LFM), the amount of water contained within the living part of plants, for the lands predominantly covered by chaparral vegetation communities within (and just beyond) San Diego County. LFM levels are estimated by correlating image data from the MODIS sensor on the NASA Terra satellite with ground-level measurements of LFM made by the California Department of Forestry. Notice that much of San Diego County and particularly the chaparral lands within the recently burned areas are mapped as Extremely Low LFM. This makes the vegetation fuels particularly flammable, even though the severe wind and low humidity conditions during October 21 through 24 were capable of burning and propagating fires in vegetation having higher LFM. The fire perimeters (as of Oct 24 2007) are shown in blue.


Derived GeoData (SDSU)


Archived MODIS images overlay with highways (Oct. 28 - 21 -- reversed order).(by Ick Hoi (Rick) Kim)



Satellite Images and Aerial Photos Links (compiled by Madhura Niphadkar)


Archived Satellite Images and Overlay Maps. (Oct. 21-24)

  • 10/23/2007 21:38:18 GMT NASA Satellite: Aqua  (San Diego Time: Oct. 23, 2:38pm) 

(False Color --  Easier to see the fire perimeters).

(True Color:  showing smokes)


MODIS image -- overlay with fire perimeters.


Oct. 22, 2007

Modis imagery update 22 October 2007 1:00pm

(Note: Currently (Oct. 22 7:00AM), both Witch Creek Fire and Harris Fire are much worse than last night. Our Geography Department staff will continue to update these wildfire maps once we get new information. ---  Ming Tsou.

  • Oct. 21, 2007


The following links are the PDF maps for updated fire perimeters (Witch Fire and Harris Fire)
(PDF fire perimeter maps update from the San Diego County - link source from SignonSanDiego Weblog:


Access  Satellite Images (MODIS): 10/21/2007  1:00pm in Pacific Time Zone

Images from USDA Forest Service Remote Sensing Application Center

10/21/2007,  20:11:18 GMT  (equal to 10/21/2007  1:00pm in Pacific Time Zone).

Satellite: Aqua

(Note: the MODIS images in USDA website are updated daily).


GeoMAC (USGS) Wildfire Mapping Services

(Usually updated daily.  Currently, the new wildfires in San Diego have not been shown in their maps yet. 

Oct. 21, 11pm.--Ming)


San Diego State University, Department of Geography Department
provides the following mapping services:

(Disclaimer: Since all GIS layers in these mapping services are derived from external resources, SDSU and the Department of Geography are not responsible for the accuracy of these information. 


The Witch Fire (Top) and the Harris Fire (Bottom),  (Oct. 21  1:00pm PCT)


The Witch Fire  (Oct. 21  1:00pm PCT)



The Harris Fire


The Witch Fire (Top) and the Harris Fire (Bottom),  (Oct. 21  1:00pm PCT)


The Witch Fire   (Oct. 21  1:00pm PCT)


The Harris Fire  (Oct. 21  1:00pm PCT)


For GIS professionals, you can create similar maps by downloading the following GIS data:

The MODIS GeoTIFF images (GeoTiff images are already georeferenced). (download the GeoTIFF compressed file. Decompress it, then overlay with GIS layers -- also can be downloaded from SANDAG website: (Shapefile format).

Also, for the more updated MODIS GIS data (points), link to


The MODIS satellite data showing the ground temperature (K degree). (Oct. 21, 1pm) -- Ming)



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