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Inmarsat and the Immersive Visualization Center at San Diego State University’s “Viz Lab”, today announced a new partnership to develop and test solutions for time-critical GIS data to remote fire teams fighting wildfires.

Utilizing Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service and building on cutting-edge visualization research at San Diego State University, the partnership will develop solutions to replace static, hours-old information with dynamic, real-time data.

“By delivering dynamic, real-time information about fire perimeters, weather and ground conditions, Inmarsat and the SDSU “Viz Lab” will enhance the ability of incident commanders to protect lives and property, and enhance the safety of fire-fighters in the field,” said Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, Vice President, Global Government Services at Inmarsat.

Headquarters’ leadership, incident commanders and remote teams will all share up-to-the-minute situational awareness about the fire zone.

We have links to all of these feeds, like NASA, Google Maps and Predator video,” said Eric Frost, co-director of the center, which is sometimes referred to as the Viz Lab. “We’re constantly looking for more sources of precise information and different ways to visualize it so we can show the location of the fires as close to real-time as possible.”

San Diego State University’s new Wildfire Alert! website at wildfirealert.sdsu.edu uses data from a number of weather stations and calculates the fire danger using a standard fire danger algorithm.

SDSU’s High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) and the Center for Earth Observations and Applications (CEOA) have also demonstrated cyberinfrastructure tools and technologies for environmental monitoring.

HPWREN enables real time data collection and display, with live feed video and audio to classrooms and bulk data transport from locations and the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) sites at UCSB and UCLA. Their iSeismograph 1.2 turns any Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro laptop into a digital Seismograph. The software takes advantage of the Macbook/Pro’s embedded accelerometer and onboard camera to record and visually display local seismic activity in real-time.

In related news, Computer scientists at Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory — a key partner in the OptIPuter project were just awarded a three-year, $1.9 million NSF grant to make OptIPuter access more user friendly.

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