During wildfires one of the most requested items is a map. A map is sometimes the only line residents have to their homes during a wildfire. Infrared photos of the fire are taken from the air to give the most precise mapping of fire movement.

Infrared mapping isn't the only mapping option, though. Interactive maps can give people a deeper understanding of what's happening.

Based off of geographic information systems (GIS) sets of data can be layered on a map to help understand and visualize data. GIS.com says "A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information."

When geographic information is attached to social media, that media can be included in maps combined with the infrared fire maps.

Here are three maps to note of the High Park Fire.

1. Created by Brendan Heberton using GeoCommons - a free mapping tool.

High Park Fire - Colorado

2. Created by Project EPIC - a research effort that involves University of Colorado at Boulder. You can add to this map using Tweak the Tweet Instructions

TtT Resources for 2012 Wildfires

3. Created by Esri - a GIS Mapping Software and Data company.

See the heat areas, evacuations areas, wildfire threat and more at Colorado Wildfire Viewer.  Take it a step further to see the social interactions, emergency information, RSS feeds and more at dtswildfire.

I wrote and published this article first on 9news.com: Interactive: High Park Fire maps.

ADDITION: Why should we journalists care about these maps? Maps are the ultimate crowdsourcing tools during almost any breaking news event with multiple locations, not just wildfires. These maps can visualize a story in another way than our articles or video. These maps can organize a story and bring to light new story angles. Finally, people love maps. We are a visual society. Using maps on our websites will result in clicks - and boy do we love clicks