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Proceedings, XXth congress

anbul 2004
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Gray and
L. Trevis, Dr. N. El-Sheimy
Mobile Multi-sensor Research Group
Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary
2500 University Drive, Calgary, Canada T2N 1N4
lktrevis@ucalgary.ca, naser@geomatics.ucalgary.ca
KEY WORDS: Spatial Information Sciences, Forest Fire, Modeling, Monitoring, GIS, Real-time, Internet/Web
Understanding wildfire behavior is critical for maintaining the safety of fire-fighting crews. Understanding wildfires can also result
in significant fiscal savings through improved planning and resource allocating. Currently, wildfire monitoring techniques are not
accurate or efficient enough to optimally monitor this natural disaster. To help remedy this, the mobile multi-sensor research group
of the University of Calgary is designing an innovative, real-time, internet based wildfire monitoring and modeling system. This
system has the potential to impact the process of predicting wildfire propagation, resulting in reduced damage to the environment,
enhanced safety and appreciable financial savings. This paper will discuss the design and functionality of the system which
integrates four components into a data acquisition/processing system and accompanying GIS based web browser. The four
components are: a thermal infrared imaging sensor, wireless communications, an inertial navigation system and a wildfire prediction
model based on algorithms used by Prometheus (designed by the Alberta Government in 2003). The final system is able to locate
hotspots of fires within five meters, predict where a fire will most likely propagate with time, detect smoldering fires underneath
surface vegetation, and detect fires through smoke, haze and darkness with the highest possible accuracy and efficiency of any
commercial wildfire model available today.
Wildfire management agencies have a need for a system that This wildfire monitoring and modeling system (WMMS) can be
can estimate the propagation and intensity of spreading broken down into three main sub-systems. These sub-systems
wildfires. ^ Understanding the behavioral characteristics of can be identified as the data Acquisition System, Control
wildfires and how they spread through various vegetation types Center System and Response System. The functionalities of
and terrains are a major concern for environmental agencies, each sub-system are shown in Figure 1.
government officials and the general public. If unmonitored or
poorly modeled, manageable fires can grow out of control,
potentially devastate entire ecosystems and alter local weather
patterns (Johnson, 2001). Wildfires can also destroy thousands
of acres worth of prime revenue growing lumber resources that
are essential to the economies of some countries (Johnson, € , Cas :
2001). Furthermore, wildfires can rage near cities and towns collecting: WADGPS, INS
and consume the homes and treasures of the citizens (O’Brian, . Image collecting:
2003). Video Camera and
Thermal Camera

Data Acquisition System
e Hotspot and fire line
e Location and time data
Currently, Canada lacks a standard fire modeling software
program. Each fire agency in each Canadian province, and
even districts within provinces, use different programs to Y
predict wildfire behavior and how to orchestrate suppression
attacks. This can create difficulty when trying to fight fires that

Control Center System Response System
cross provincial borders and creates a gap in communication (Web based WMMS) ® Information
when trying to learn from fires that occurred in other provinces. * Data processing reporting to fire
This research paper explores the design and implementation of e Fire propagation = managers and
a robust, near real time, internet based, wildfire monitoring and predicting general public in
modeling system that meets the standards of all the fire districts e Fire status monitoring real-time

within Alberta, Canada. This system could be used province-
wide to help different agencies and districts communicate more
efficiently with each other and could also allow the public to Figure 1: Logical Model Design for the Mobile Mapping
view current provincial fire situations from their personal System