Image sharing platform a critical new tool for planned burns

Image sharing platform a critical new tool for planned burns

New cloud-based image platform FireLens will help fire agencies improve information sharing during planned burning and fire suppression events.

FireLens will provide information and intelligence to staff planning, implementing and reporting on planned burns.

Fire agencies will now have access to near real time information through images and video that will help management of the burn.

The platform is being developed by RMIT and DELWP and will provide centralised storage for content that can be used in operations, firefighter training and media communications to the public.

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) with content at their fingertips, assisting with planning through to response and recovery activities.

“This visual information supports planned burning and emergency response operations as well as playing a vital role in training and public awareness,” he said.

The team are currently working on the design of an ‘SMS Capture’ feature which will draw on current mobile media practices to crowdsource information from the field.

An ‘Incident Image Board’ will then bring together a feed of images accessible via mobile and desktop browser, enabling firefighters to continually monitor a burn with visual information in parallel with radio communications.

Keen said the system will eventually integrate a range of image collection technologies including from aircraft, drones, professional media equipment, GoPros, tablets and smartphones.

FFMVic Regional Manager Nick Ryan said as well as supporting firefighters, incident control management and communications staff, FireLens would enable communication teams to pass on critical information to the public more quickly, efficiently and accurately.

“The information we get via FireLens will assist us to deliver timely communication to the public via social media channels, monitor operations and enhance training and education,” he said.

The first FireLens prototype is currently being developed in Victoria with the CFA and FFMVic and their partner agencies Parks Victoria, VicForests and Melbourne Water.

The project has recently received funding from the State funded ‘Safer Together’ program, which focuses on supporting innovative approaches towards improving planned burning safety. 

Story: Grace Taylor

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