On Sep 25-26, 2009, the Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) issued seven GeoCam Mobile Android phones to firefighters at the Guiberson Fire, a major fire that mobilized over 1,800 firefighters and burned 17,500 acres in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles. The firefighters used the phones to take more than 80 geotagged photos and upload them in real time to a server at Ames, where commanders could view them with a web browser, either using an in-browser 2D map or launching Google Earth. So far their main use has been in fire behavior analysis, damage assessment, and post-fire rehabilitation. We got lots of great feedback from all users from field observers to GIS specialists to the incident commander, but most importantly they told us to get to the next fire faster!
BACKGROUND: Each year, thousands of people die, millions of lives are disrupted, and billions of dollars are spent coping with earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. But better geo-spatial information, rapidly delivered, can significantly reduce the impact of an extreme event as well as help prepare for future events.
One of the biggest problems after a disaster strikes is getting accurate, up-to-date information. This can be a challenge when there is significant damage to infrastructure due to flooding, fires, etc. Capturing and sharing digital photos is particularly important because they can be used to rapidly assess the situation and make decisions. GeoCam is designed to address this need by empowering a broad range of users to quickly capture and make use of geo-referenced imagery.
PROGRAM FUNDING: Google-NASA Disaster Response Project
Contact: Terry Fong