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Cloud-based image platform for information on planned burns

Photo: Credit: RMIT University

A new platform being developed by RMIT University and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) will be helping fire agencies improve information sharing during planned burning and fire suppression events.

According to a recent press release, FireLens is a cloud-based image platform that will provide information and intelligence to staff planning, implementing and reporting on planned burns.

Benefits of the platform

It will provide a centralised storage for content that can be used in operations, firefighter training and media communications to the public.

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

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.

Having this information at hand will assist them in their planning through to response and recovery activities.

Aside from 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.

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

The information from FireLens will assist in the timely delivery of communication to the public through social media channels; monitor operations; and enhance training and education.

Features of the platform

The design of an ‘SMS Capture’ feature is currently being worked on, which will draw on current mobile media practices to crowdsource information from the field.

A feed of images will be brought together by an ‘Incident Image Board’ that is accessible via a mobile and desktop browser.

This capability will enable firefighters to continually monitor a burn with visual information in parallel with radio communications.

The system will eventually integrate a range of image collection technologies including those retrieved from aircraft, drones, professional media equipment, GoPros, tablets and smartphones.

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.

Who are involved?

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is focused on creating a liveable, inclusive and sustainable Victoria with thriving natural environments.

The Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) aims to keep communities safe year round by reducing the risk and impact of bushfires on Victoria’s parks, forests and other public land.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) is a volunteer and community based fire and emergency services organisation.

Parks Victoria is a statutory authority, created by the Parks Victoria Act 2018 responsible for managing an expanding and diverse estate covering more than 4 million hectares, or about 18%, of Victoria.

VicForests is a State-owned business responsible for the sustainable harvest, regrowing and commercial sale of timber from public forests on behalf of the Victorian Government.

Melbourne Water is a statutory authority owned by the Victorian Government that manage and protects Melbourne’s major water resources on behalf of the community.

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