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Collaborative Decision Environment Demonstrated to Disaster Responders

Francis Enomoto and Sandy Johan were invited to attend the 2007 Southern California Fire Siege Remote Sensing Workshop in Sacramento, February 12-13, 2008. The workshop, hosted by NASA, US Forest Service (USFS), and CAL FIRE, reviewed the remote sensing requirements of incident management teams and the products that were provided by NASA, USFS, military, and commercial providers during the October 2007 wildfires. NASA presenters described the capabilities of the Ames-developed autonomous 12-channel multi-spectral scanner that was flown onboard NASA’s Ikhana unmanned aerial system. It delivered near-real-time images via the Collaborative Decision Environment (CDE) to incident management teams fighting the Southern California fires. Enomoto gave an overview of the CDE, demonstrated its capabilities using Google Earth, and presented other technology being developed in the Google-NASA disaster response project.

There were many favorable comments from the fire community about NASA’s support. Mike Wilson, who coordinated remote sensing requests during the fire siege, commented that NASA’s Ikhana provided very good information needed for fire suppression. Tim Chavez, a situational unit leader on the Poomacha fire, was happy with the usefulness and timeliness of the CDE-provided data. John Perry, the FEMA manager who funded three of the Ikhana flights, confirmed to the Ames project PI that fire managers were very satisfied with NASA’s products and support. Information technology and remote sensing needs of the fire community that were raised during breakout discussions will be useful in guiding further development of the CDE concept and the NASA-Google disaster response project.

BACKGROUND: The CDE is used as a decision-support system for distributed mission planning, situational awareness, data product visualization. It uses Google Earth as the visualization component, Quicktime video streaming from the aircraft, and Jabber instant messaging for group collaboration. The Western States Fire Mission demonstrated improved wildfire imaging and mapping capabilities of the sophisticated imaging sensor and real-time data communications equipment developed at Ames Research Center. The sensor is capable of peering through thick smoke and haze to record hot spots and the progression of wildfires over a lengthy period. Data is downlinked in near-real time, overlaid on Google Earth maps, and made available to users at the National Inter-Agency Fire Center (NIFC) and fire incident command centers to assist them in allocating their firefighting resources.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Science Mission Directorate

COLLABORATORS: Wildlife Research and Application Partnership PI - Vince Ambrosia, code SGE; US Forest Service - Everett Hinkley and Tom Zajkowski; Ikhana program manager - Brent Cobleigh, NASA/DFRC

Contact:  Francis Enomoto

02/25/2008

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