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App: LightOrFight

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Mission Statement

In April and May of 2016, the unprecedented Horse River wildfires swept through the city of Fort McMurray and the protected areas surrounding it. While some of these fires were naturally created, human-caused fires contributed to devastation of both protected areas and urban ecological systems in the Fort McMurray area. The fires burned forests in the protected Clearwater River Provincial Park in Saskatchewan, and Gipsy Lake Wildland and Grand Rapids Wildland in Alberta. The Horse River wildfires also decimated the city of Fort McMurray, with much of the city being burned at a cost of $9.9 billion. Habitat destruction, increased sedimentation into surrounding rivers, and decreased air quality for people and animals living in this area are only a few of the impacts that resulted from this disaster. Our goal with LightorFight is to give people the opportunity to report wildfires along with indicators of their strength and allow emergency personnel to make the decision to quickly respond to these threats with evacuation and firefighting efforts or allow the fire to run its natural course in the area it is affecting.

Video Presentation


Team Members

Joseph Nicolas: I'm a fourth-year Geomatics student at the University of Waterloo along with a double minor in computing and economics. Being in this program allowed me to combine both my passions in geography and computer science, making it an incredibly fulfilling field to study and work in. My most recent experience includes working as a Geospatial Analyst which has been a fantastic opportunity to apply my technical expertise in a real-world setting. I was able to use the skills I learned to manage and update map layers, create detailed and accurate visualizations of spatial data, and utilizing geospatial technologies to automate data analysis and process workflows. In my free time, I enjoy reading books and playing video games, as well as spending quality time with my family and friends.

Micah Colman: I'm a first-year Geomatics student at the University of Waterloo. I have been involved in various geography competitions at a national level during high school, events which furthered my passion for the field of geography. I am interested in how various natural phenomena can impact human systems and the relationships between human and environmental forces. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games and participating in trivia events with friends.

Matthew Woodward: I am a first-year student at the University of Waterloo majoring in Geography and Environmental Management. I was a gold medalist at the International Geography Olympiad, placing eighteenth in the world in 2022. I am interested in natural disasters and using GIS to address their impacts. This interest was reflected in my work for the Northern Tornadoes Project last summer. In my free time, I enjoy following hockey and playing trivia.