International: GDIN NASA FIRE and Fire Angel Experiment Announced (9 May 2001)

International: GDIN NASA FIRE and Fire Angel Experiment Announced

(published by Global Disaster Information Network [GDIN] News Vol. 1, No. 1, 9 May 2001)

Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) News Vol. 1, No. 1, 9 May 2001

GDIN NASA FIRE and Fire Angel Experiment Announced: Over the last two GDIN conferences, NASA and GDIN have been discussing the feasibility of using UAVs (uninhabited aerial vehicles) for disaster monitoring. Under the name FiRE (First Response Experiment), we plan to conduct a proof of concept flight, set in late May, demonstrating the ability to provide near real time, over the horizon, geo-registered thermal imagery on the web for disaster managers. See   for schedule information and a discussion of the technology.
FiRE is a perfect example of GDIN’s motto of ‘getting the right information to the right people at the right time’. Using the Altus UAV as a platform, the plane will fly over a controlled burn in southern California. Within 30 minutes of taking a shot, a geo-registered thermal infrared image, draped over topography, will be posted on the web, accessible to fire fighters!
NASA, the US Forest Service and GDIN are planning a follow-on science demonstration project for August 2002. The larger General Atomics Altair aircraft, equipped with the FiRE sensor, SAR and sky-ball vis-near IR system, will image multiple (20-40) fires and perhaps other disaster (tornadoes, floods, pollution, etc) events over the western US, providing near real time geo-registered imagery to the National Interagency Fire Center over the web (Quick look imagery, perhaps sized for Palm Pilot available sooner). Altair and an imaging payload, with 24+ hour duration and satellite communications, have the potential to be a powerful regional disaster assessment and management tool.
Assuming this test works and funding is developed, we want to extend the concept Internationally. A FireAngel project, as an around the world demonstration concept in 2003, is designed to show the value of the new aerospace and information technologies, and showcase GDIN’s ability to embrace relevant of new tools in disaster information management. For questions on FireAngel, email Steve Wegener, Physical Scientist, Earth Science Division, Ames Research Center, NASA at:


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