Geographic information systems (GIS) have assumed a key role in firefighting operations in recent years. Sophisticated GIS-driven mapping can help responders track events and position resources, layering on weather information and demographic data to give rescuers a full picture of the situation on the ground. GIS may come into play before a fire, for example in helping municipalities mark the exact locations of fire hydrants. During an emergency, geospatial visualizations can help rescuers to plan routes, track the spread of fire and identify communities at immediate risk. In addition to fulfilling such roles before and during a fire, GIS also can serve an important function for the emergency management community in the aftermath of a blaze. By tying satellite imagery to municipal databases and putting that information in the hands of trained field workers, GIS can dramatically speed up vital damage assessment efforts.