Fire Flight: Real Time Fire Mapping

Real Time Fire Mapping

An innovative and cost-effective solution for real time fire mapping from manned aircraft.

What is the FireFlight system

FireFlight is a new airborne fire mapping software, created by Spatial Scientific in Australia. The system provides real time fire information (active fire data) as maps, and post fire hotspot maps to fire managers, fire agencies and other relevant stakeholders. The FireFlight system is cheap to deploy and easy to use. It has been operated in the US, Australia and Indonesia during the past two years. FireFlight systems are shipped from Australia and operated by local pilots in fire danger regions worldwide.

How does the FireFlight system work

The FireFlight system uses thermal sensors connected to a GPS and computer, and mounted in light aircraft. The flight management software which ties the system together provides pilot navigation, camera control, thermal imagery, data communication and real time image interpretation. Software on our ground-based servers receives the fire maps from the aircraft, combines them with other useful geographic information, and makes the result available on a secure website.

Why is the system designed like this

The traditional approach to fire mapping is to have a small number of high value assets: large aircraft with imaging systems worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our philosophy is different: we believe multiple low cost fire mapping systems, geographically spread over a wide area, can be more effective than a few expensive fire mapping systems with limited geographical coverage. And by having many more systems available, the impact of system or aircraft failures is greatly reduced.

The FireFlight system delivers data that is fit for purpose: real time georectified fire maps which are supplied within minutes or even seconds of the flyover. All fire maps are GIS-ready, meaning they can be directly imported into any mapping software, or viewed in any web browser.

How we operate

More details about how we operate the FireFlight system
Real time fire mapping, and post-fire hotspot detection

Spatial Scientific supplies the FireFlight system as a service rather than a product. We don't sell the hardware and software to end users, but instead we supply the end user (usually fire agencies) with data from the FireFlight system. This means that end users do not have to be in the aviation business; they can focus on the business of fighting fires. Depending on where the fire mapping service is required, we will either operate the system ourselves (if it is close to one of our bases), or we will contract an operator to fly the system in that area. This approach allows us to achieve global reach efficiently and cost-effectively.

  • Georectified fire maps (GeoTiff, KMZ) are available minutes or even seconds after data acquisition.

  • Post-fire mapping can take place any time after the fire has passed, to detect any remaining hotspots.

  • Our system can be flown at any time, day or night. And of course it can see through smoke, which means that we can provide data exactly when it is required.

Our supporters

FireFlight is currently supported by the following organisations:

Spatial Scientific

Parent company
Spatial Scientific Pty. Ltd. is an Australian spatial technology company, and developer of flight management and camera control systems. Spatial Scientific is the creator of the FireFlight system and the parent company of FireFlight Technologies Pty. Ltd.

Innovation & Collaboration Centre

Business incubator at UniSA
The Innovation & Collaboration Centre is the University of South Australia’s startup incubator. The ICC engages with the community through programmes which draw on the research and expertise of UniSA and partners, to support new startups and the growth of existing companies.

The Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund

Independent funding body
The Sir Ross & Sir Keith Smith Fund was established in 1986 by Lady Anita Smith, widow of Sir Keith Smith, for the “advancement in the State of South Australia of the science of aeronautics and of education therein”. FireFlight is a recipient of funding from this fund.

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We are currently looking for new operators of the FireFlight system in fire danger regions worldwide, where we don't already have systems deployed. Operators must meet a strict set of criteria, including having unrestricted access to a suitable aircraft, and a willingness to work closely with local fire agencies.

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