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June 18th, 2011
TABI-1800 Wildfire Airborne Strategic Mapping Operations Underway

Within a very short two-week window, this field evaluation was completed and the TABI immediately put into active operational service against two of the largest fires burning in the province. The Cache Percotte GRID assessment site near Hinton, Alberta is used to evaluate all infrared (IR) detection technologies that could potentially assist the SRD in their provincial fire fighting efforts. Its goal is to evaluate each technology for its hotspot detection accuracy, positional precision of the identified hotspots, and field product turn-around efficiency.

The site over which the TABI-1800 was flown featured a grid of 85 sampling points across a representative variety of terrain types, slopes, aspects, elevations, and gap light index values. The testing procedure involved SRD personnel setting out small heat sources at 20 randomly chosen target points, for which ancillary data was also collected. The imaging sensor crew, unaware of the locations of these small hotspots in the grid, surveyed the entire 100 hectare region and were asked to provide information products that identified these spots as soon as possible following flight. The TABI-1800 performed very well under these tests, leading to it being immediately put into active field service by SRD.

Along with our survey flight partner, Geodesy Remote Sensing Inc., ITRES has now established a mobile forward operating base with aircraft, sensor, air and ground crews to actively support the SRD’s fire suppression efforts against, among others, a currently out-of-control 580,000+ hectare fire. Each evening, our crew is provided with target wildfire acquisition areas which are imaged using the wide-swath TABI at night. From this data, after analysis, georeferenced fire maps showing delineated fire hotspot boundaries are produced for the SRD group for early morning delivery.

The TABI data from which these maps are created are fully calibrated, geolocated, and have had terrain-related distortions removed (the data has been orthocorrected). These TABI-generated maps help SRD with situational-visualization towards their efforts in directing ground and air resources to fight this fire. ABOUT THE TABI-1800 The TABI-1800 is a high resolution, low drift, wide imaging swath thermal sensor that offers a range of pixel resolutions from 10 cm to 1.25 m using fixed wing platforms while flying fast (e.g. 15 cm pixels at 170 knots at 1250 m AGL). Resolutions down to ~2 cm are achievable, while retaining thermal sensitivity to temperature differences as small as 0.05 degrees Celsius.

ABOUT ITRES (WWW.ITRES.COM) ITRES is a leading-edge technology company specializing in the development, manufacturing, and use of hyperspectral airborne sensors. ITRES offers sensor systems that cover visible-near-infrared, shortwave infrared, midwave infrared, and thermal infrared wavelengths. Services include providing airborne hyperspectral imaging for defense & humanitarian applications, and environmental and commercial mapping applications in forestry, agriculture, wetlands, water quality, coastal zone, mineralogy, geology, and heat loss mapping.

ABOUT GEODESY REMOTE SENSING INC. (WWW.GEODESYGROUP.COM) In operation since 1986, Geodesy can accommodate comprehensive aerial mapping or photography operations of all types and sizes. Operating out of a 3500 square foot facility at a private air strip south of Calgary, Geodesy employs geomatics professionals carrying out all aspects of air operations and downstream production and is professionally affiliates with GIAC, AGG, ASPRS, ALSA and the Alberta Safety Council. ABOUT ALBERTA SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT (WWW.SRD.ALBERTA.CA) As a provincial government agency, Alberta Sustainable Resource development (SRD) encourages balanced and responsible use of Alberta’s natural resources through the application of leading practices in management, science, and stewardship. SRD’s wildfire operations encompass all activities concerned with controlling and extinguishing a wildfire following its detection. The Provincial Forest Fire Centre, located in Edmonton, works with the 10 Wildfire Management Areas in the province to coordinate suppression and pre-suppression efforts.