NASA “WRAP” Operations in Next-Gen EOC-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, August 18, 2011

NASA “WRAP” Operations in Next-Gen EOC

Example of Google map hotspot as interfaced between ground crew and UAVs of the Eagle Fire in San Diego County, CA
Example of Google map hotspot as interfaced between ground crew and UAVs of the Eagle Fire in San Diego County, CA

NASA and Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley (CMUSV) Campus joined resources to conduct exercises for a NASA WRAP (Wildfire Research and Applications Partnership) mission in the CMUSV Next-Generation EOC (Emergency Operations Center). The mission is designed to collect and distribute real-time, geo-registered, multi-spectral wildfire image data using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The exercises evaluated sensors, software and communications systems for real-time mapping and observation of wildland fires from UAVs. The robot aircraft fly over a fire in progress, capture high-detailed imagery (visual and infrared), “drape” the imagery over maps—with complex computation involved to compensate for the altitude, tilt and roll of the UAV—and feed the information to fire commanders on the ground, sometimes many miles away. In this case the fires were in New Mexico and San Diego County, while mission control was on the CMUSV campus in Northern California.

“Although this work has focused on wildfires, this same technology would be equally, maybe even more, valuable after an earthquake, oil spill or other disaster that covers a large area. We’ve had the ability to get aerial imagery for a long time, but we’ve never had a capacity like this for putting together a precise yet wide-area operating picture in real time,” said Art Botterell, disaster management expert and CMUSV Next-Gen EOC consultant.

inside the Next-Gen EOC trailer

Inside the Next-Gen EOC

CMUSV contributed the use of its new Next-Generation Emergency Operations Center as a highly-connected, technically-sophisticated workspace for mission control and collaborative decision making. The reliance on solar power in a mobile platform provided a realistic simulation of field conditions, while being near CMUSV and NASA Ames resources.

This first exercise was a trial run for extensive work scheduled in September and October. During that period NASA and CMUSV teams will be on-call to fly over developing wildfires. Additional information is available at the NASA WRAP website.