Geospatial Equipment and Technology Applications Team on Wallow
Incident: Wallow Wildfire
The Geospatial Equipment and Technology Team Helps Out on Wallow
The Geospatial Equipment and Technology Application (GETA) group is a growing circle of people who are interested in experiential training, incident management, and geospatial technology in general.
They are primarily ground firefighters; hotshots, smokejumpers, and engine crewmembers. Over the last two and a half years they have been exploring the ways that emerging user-friendly technology and applications can enhance incident management capabilities.
A picture tells a thousand words, and these technologies allow non-specialists to rapidly create and modify useful visualizations to powerfully convey information.
Their work has tended to fall in to two broad areas: training and incident management applications. Both efforts have focused on the use of network technologies and geospatial visualization tools, especially Google Earth.
On the Wallow Fire, the GETA group has conducted virtual fly-over tours of the fire for public meetings, allowing the public to experience the fire as if from the air. The GETA group has the capability to overlay visual data describing terrain, weather, vegetation and developments such as houses, campgrounds roads and power lines into a package that allows viewers to track the strategic decision-making and tactics employed to fight the fire.
The GETA group also assists in briefing the Incident Commander and the Command Staff on a daily basis. Their products help predict the expected long-term fire behavior and fire effects that drive the decisions on how to apply firefighting resources on the landscape.
"Part of the reason we started doing this is because as a firefighter it is difficult, most of the time, to find information and maps of the area we are working. Providing access and training to firefighters and incident managers to off the shelf, inexpensive, and interoperable technologies gives them tools that allow them to make better decisions in the environment they are working," said William Phillips, a GETA team member and smokejumper based in Missoula, Montana. "The tools we use provide them a clearer picture of what the ground, vegetation, and fire environment looks like before they hit the ground. This allows them to develop plans and make decisions that help them to be successful in the management of the incidents they find themselves on."
For more information on the GETA group please visit http://geta.firenet.gov