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  • Writer's pictureOverwatch Imaging

Supporting wildfire response with cutting-edge technology

Collecting, processing and delivering critical intelligence for wildfire management and response was one of Overwatch Imaging's founding missions, and it continues to be a top priority for our team.
One of two Beechcraft King Air 260s delivered to the U.S. Forest Service equipped with wildfire detection technology. (Photo: Textron Aviation)
Overwatch Imaging team at work in company's Hood River, Oregon headquarters

Overwatch Imaging systems are utilized to deliver a vast majority of the nation’s critical wildfire intelligence. High-resolution aerial imagery and powerful automated software are used in tandem to identify and monitor wildfire activity in real-time as events unfold. Intelligence is processed rapidly on the edge and used to support wildfire management efforts, assist first responders in making timely and informed decisions, and keep people and crews out of harm’s way.

Systems are designed to simultaneously image in multiple spectral bands, including visible (RGB), near infrared (NIR), shortwave infrared (SWIR), mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) with a dual-antenna Global Positioning System (GPS) inertial navigation system. Images from the sensors are processed with an advanced embedded graphics processing unit (GPU) for real-time image analytics, onboard cross-cueing, and pre-transmission data reduction.

Overwatch Imaging TK-8 payload, equipped to image simultaneously in five spectral bands

Here are five important ways Overwatch Imaging technology supports wildfire management and response:

1. Early detection:

The high-resolution aerial imagery provided by Overwatch Imaging is used to identify wildfires in their early stages, allowing for prompt response and quick containment before the fires grow out of control.

2. Real-time monitoring:

Overwatch Imaging's real-time imagery and automated data outputs are used to monitor wildfire activity, often in adverse conditions, to track fire spread, progress, and perimeter growth, allowing for better situational awareness and more effective firefighting efforts.

3. Identification of hotspots: Precision geolocated multispectral image data is highly effective in identifying and locating hotspots within a fire, allowing firefighters to focus their efforts on the areas where they can be the most effective.

4. Improved planning and decision-making:

High-quality, wide-area image products provided by Overwatch Imaging are used to create detailed maps of wildfire areas or areas of high risk, allowing for better planning and decision-making by management teams and interest groups.

5. Reduced risk to firefighters:

By providing precise, real-time information about wildfire activity, intensity, and growth, Overwatch Imaging technology helps firefighters make informed decisions about where to deploy or remove resources.



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