Fire department official develops method for mapping fire in progress

Fire department official develops method for mapping fire in progress

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USA, 24 July 2006: Steven Robinson of the Los Angeles Fire Department’s aerial programme, has developed a method where he can map a fire in progress and provide vital information, including evacuation routes and other emergency plans, to ground crews.

The desk-bound pilot teamed with ESRI, the result was interactive computerized mapping that displays layer upon layer of information about a fire’s size, census data, topography, weather, location of nearby homes and population, hospitals, schools and more. The mapping is built on high-resolution images captured by an aircraft. The data are overlaid on the pictures, and users can zoom in and out for a more detailed picture.

The downside to the current technology is that Robinson must log on to a server to acquire the information, which means he has to fly back to the office at Van Nuys Airport, print the maps and drive them back to the command post. He is now working on acquiring a $600,000 high-tech mobile command truck that can download his maps and display them on screen.