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Insitu demonstrates revolutionary UAV integrated with GIS for fighting wildfires

US: Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, in association of Esri has completed test flights on a new way that could support firefighting efforts using state-of-the-art software for firefighters and first responders.

The flights were held at the Warm Springs, Oregon, FAA UAS Test Range, a member of the Pan Pacific FAA UAS Test Site for commercial UAS testing. The national FAA test site program facilitates the UAS industry in meeting strict customer needs and qualifications.

A week after successfully completing customer acceptance test flights, Insitu deployed its INEXA Solutions. Collaborating with customers to identify business challenges, INEXA Solutions professionals use a continually expanding suite of capabilities such as INEXA Control (ground-based command and control), INEXA Cloud, INEXA manned and unmanned air vehicles including ScanEagle, and INEXA sensors and analytics to provide custom solutions and answers to mitigate business challenges from seabed to space.

Coordinating with the Oregon Department of Forestry and other governing entities, Insitu’s ScanEagle system provided optimal, near real-time data for firefighters and first responders, resulting in heightened emergency response efforts, increased situational awareness and safety, and supported planning and resource allocation.

Equipped with electro-optical (EO), in daylight, infrared (IR) video for nighttime flights, and mid-wave sensors, the ScanEagle surveyed fire lines at night over the Eagle Creek wildfire, which had spread to nearly 49,000 acres throughout the Columbia River Gorge region.

The ScanEagle can supplement manned firefighting fleets by operating during dense smoke and at night, when manned aircraft typically cannot fly. Infrared camera technology is utilized to penetrate smoke and gather and disseminate geo-referenced still images of points of interest.

These images allow Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists to perform analysis using Esri’s Geographic Information System ArcGIS software.