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Videos of 2019 flooding emergency one of three new additions to Muskoka’s GeoHub

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Three new apps have been added to the Muskoka GeoHub: one detailing the candidates in October’s municipal election, another going over forest fire preparedness, and one showing video from the flooding Muskoka dealt with in 2019.

Graham Good, Manager of Geomatics for the District of Muskoka, explained to district council Monday that the helicopter videos were taken by the provincial police during the height of the crisis. “It’s our intent to show how extensive the flooding actually happened,” he said.

“This app will not only chronicle a significant event in Muskoka’s history, but it’s a way to bring public awareness to the realities of flooding in Muskoka and highlight the importance of the work being done by our watershed group and all the climate change and integrated watershed management projects that are currently underway,” Stu Paul, GIS Project Coordinator, said.

He explained that the mapping portal was launched in 2009 under a different name, but became the GeoHub in November 2020. 

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One of the other new apps now included on the website is called Muskoka Votes. It shows who is running for what position in the six municipalities in Muskoka for the upcoming municipal election.

Good explained to council the most recent addition is the forest fire preparedness map. “We hope this story map will assist in getting the message out for our local fire departments,” he said. Good explained the map shows all active forest fires in Ontario and the extent of forest fire smoke across North America. 

The app was done in collaboration with Muskoka’s fire departments and outside sources are used to make sure the data is kept up-to-date. “They update their maps in real-time and we view those changes on our maps without doing any additional work,” Good explained. 

Paul told council the app also details where all the fire stations and emergency reception centres to help displaced residents are in the district as well. 

With only a “small” team updating the website, Good says a lot of updates are automated. However, he said there are staff members in place to keep the maps updated “regularly and often.”

Good said new imagery from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry will be taken in spring 2023 and added to the portal.

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