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.