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Open Access Demonstrating UAV-Acquired Real-Time Thermal Data over Fires

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Project FiRE (First Response Experiment), a disaster management technology demonstration, was performed in 2001. The experiment demonstrated the use of a thermal multispectral scanning imager, integrated on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a satellite uplink/downlink image data telemetry system, and near-real-time geo-rectification of the resultant imagery for data distribution via the Internet to disaster managers. The FiRE demonstration provided geo-corrected image data over a controlled burn to a fire management community in near-real-time by means of the melding of new technologies. The use of the UAV demonstrated remotely piloted flight (thereby reducing the potential for loss of human life during hazardous missions), and the ability to “linger and stare” over the fire for extended periods of time (beyond the capabilities of human-pilot endurance). Improvements in a high-temperature calibrated thermal imaging scanner allowed “remote” operations from a UAV and provided real-time accurate fire information collection over a controlled burn. Improved bit-rate capacity telemetry capabilities increased the amount, structure, and information content of the image data relayed to the ground. The integration of precision navigation instrumentation allowed improved accuracies in geo-rectification of the resultant imagery, easing data ingestion and overlay in a GIS framework. We present a discussion of the feasibility of utilizing new platforms, improved sensor configurations, improved telemetry, and new geo-correction software to facilitate wildfire management and mitigation strategies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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  • The official journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - the Imaging and Geospatial Information Society (ASPRS). This highly respected publication covers all facets of photogrammetry and remote sensing methods and technologies.

    Founded in 1934, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) is a scientific association serving over 7,000 professional members around the world. Our mission is to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and supporting technologies.
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