Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Real time GIS data to firefighters

San Diego State University’s Homeland Security program has developed a system to make up-to-date geographic information on wildfire conditions available to firefighters in the field, even when they are cut off from terrestrial wireline and wireless networks.

The system combines satellite and aerial imagery, weather radar and topographical data in a format optimized for delivery over the Inmarsat Plc. Broadband Global Area Network.

The “Viz Lab” has been making Geographic Information System data available online for years, but the marriage of data sets specifically for firefighters formatted for satellite delivery is a new service. Because it is new, Southern California firefighters do not yet have the Inmarsat terminals needed to access it. It is a live production system, but also a demonstration project that could be duplicated by organizations elsewhere in the world.

The satellite imagery that underlies the system is global, but the Viz Lab data sets combine more detailed topographical data for Southern California area. The data is tuned using software from GeoFusion Inc. to deliver GIS data in a satellite-friendly format over the BGAN satellite link, which can deliver speeds of up to 500 Kbps to mobile terminals.

The Viz Lab gathers tens of terabytes of data from NASA’s Terra and Aqua Earth Observation Satellites. The satellites, which circle the Earth in polar orbits, use the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to gather data in 36 spectral bands from the entire globe every one or two days. They provide images of the United States twice a day. This imagery is combined with other topographical data to create GIS data. [via]


Post a Comment