Victorian fire authorities and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning have partnered with RMIT University to develop a cloud platform for image sharing to provide agencies with more information during fire exercises.
FireLens will be a centralised platform used in the planning, implementation and reporting of planned burns and fire suppression events, giving staff on the ground and at HQ access to photos and videos in near-real time.
It will also be used as a storage space for visual media that can be used in later operations, firefighter training, and communications with the public or media organisations.
The FireLens project team are currently designing an SMS capture feature to crowdsource information from the field.
Further down the line, the system will also integrate with a range of image collection technologies including from aircraft, drones, and media equipment.
RMIT project lead Dr Seth Keen said a coordinated image management approach would provide staff in a range of roles at Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) better tools to assist with everything from planning through to response and recovery activities.
Other agencies involved in the trial, including Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and VicForests, also stand to benefit from a better visual understanding of fire progression and what’s needed to keep the flames under control.
“This visual information supports planned burning and emergency response operations as well as playing a vital role in training and public awareness,” Keen said.
While there is still a ways to go in developing FireLens, including the selection of a cloud platform to underpin the image repository, Keen told iTnews a prototype is expected by mid-June.
That should give fire authorities plenty of time to test it out in the build up to the fire season.