Emerging Technology


Hi all just wanted to share some info on emerging tech for fire use.

Over the last 2 seasons the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) has made its rounds to a handful of fires as a beta program. It was originally brought to the USFS and Prescott Fire Dept. following the Yarnell Hill Fire Fatality as a potential solution on tracking firefighters. See the articles below. It really had not grown legs but for a very small group of very dedicated folks really wanting to champion this. It made it on to a couple fires to demo in 2017 but last year we really made some progress getting live spatial video into the program on the Mendocino Complex and the Camp Incident. Additionally the State of Colorado had been testing it for the last 2 years.

This post would be way too long to explain all that ATAK does but know that its out there and hopefully coming to you soon. I have put a some links on videos about ATAK and its uses are very broad as a true all risk tool. With connectivity we can track your location, stream live spatial video from aircraft, collaborate on a number of things.

The first is a clip of the FIRIS aircraft on the Tenaja Incident last week showing some dozers cutting indirect line and a crew firing behind them. This video wasn’t playing live because we don’t have that piece dialed in yet but the functionality is being worked on for the FIRIS project…

Next video was posted on the Walker fire on the PNFs facebook page showing what we can do with the MQ9. This has been done on 3 incidents now. ATAK will even take video from small DJI quad copters.

Check out the Emerging Technology video https://www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas/

Our biggest hurdle is the connectivity out in rural areas. I believe we will have that solved in the near future with the low earth orbit communication satellites coming from companies like Space X, Ubiquitilink and Oneweb. We can do this now with MANET radios but they are very expensive and dont provide widespread solutions.

Below are a variety of links on the history of this tech coming to us. I want to thank Eric Aselin from the U.S. Forest Service and Dave Zader from the Boulder Fire Dept. for their continued push of this platform. We wouldn’t be where we are at today without your persistence. Also a big thanks to David Tally at PAR Govt. for his unwavering support with Team Connect server for ATAK and the team at the Hap Arnold Innovation Center at March Air Force Base for our video solutions.





Here is a little press on the FIRIS. Geospatial live video from these types of platforms in ATAK are game changers.

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another powerful tool.that comes out next month for quick maps that can be used in ATAK. Orthomosaics were made on the Camp incident that took a couple days. The team did an amazing job but it required a lot of labor and offsite computing. This is gonna reduce the turn around time.


Awesome stuff AJ! This is some of the more important things that we need to keep investing in! I wonder how much my agency is backing these ideas with support, particularly money?? USFS. I know press is all over OCFA right now, and Ive seen some stuff from CAL FIRE? Where are we at federally with tracking of resources?


Well you have a directive to track all “resources” on a type 1 incident by 2021. Your agency is still debating what a “resource” is. I think the right mindset is gonna prevail. Your agency has seen ATAK right up close. About all I can say. Its a big ship doesnt turn on a dime.

As far as CAL-FIRE they dont have a directive but already have a robust AVL for their equipment. Its the dismounted from the apparatus solution we need. CAL-FIRE is definitely engaged and looking at all this stuff and has seen ATAK up close and personal.

Im gonna add that all this stuff is awesome but without solid connectivity its somewhat worthless. IMHO the connectivity has got to be celestial based. I dont want cell towers up in national parks and pristine areas as much as the agencies that manage those lands. Hopefull the tech thats coming from Starlink and Lynk and oneweb/iridium is going to change that. Iridium can already push location but its not robust enough to push rich content like video.


Some.pics of ATAK.platform and ops.maps on Kincade and the MQ9 video feed. Hoping ATAK becomes a normal platform for use in the future.


Wow man…the information you shared is awesome…Thanks for sharing! :slight_smile: redtube.vin


Here is a cool graphic with the power of ATAK. You can track the sensor point of interest from an imager. Could be a manned aircraft, small uas or in this case the Cal Guard MQ9. This can be done in real time giving you a way get a near real time perimeter. Ultimately an imager that is panned out will just draw a polygon of the fire based on the IR image. That tech is here in beta format but until it becomes mainstay this is a good second best.

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