How new tech could help combat bushfire season
BUSHFIRE season might soon become an easier battle for Central Queensland firefighters as research into new laser technology gets underway.
Aerometrex this week announced the major development, revealing it as a potential part of its new laser-based light detection and ranging (LiDAR) equipment.
The new tech will likely benefit both local councils and environmental services through its quick ability to measure locations and height of trees across government, private or community land from the air.
Further capabilities allow for more in-depth analysis including the breadth and density of canopies, structure of branches and a canopy’s height through its digitised 3D images.
Its timely abilities and accurate data are considered a major time and cost gain for local councils compared to traditional land-based surveys.
Aerometrex’s managing director, Mr Mark Deuter labelled the development a “breakthrough”, adding it advances the management of regional forests into a new era of a data-driven outcomes.
“Data can be generated in 3D images and direct comparisons made between flight readings taken say a year ago, and today, so that loss, or growth, in tree numbers and canopy spread, is readily identifiable,” he said.
“This allows more relevant problem areas to be identified and more relevant solutions enacted, particularly to meet growing public expectations that Australia needs to be greener rather than browner.”
Aerometrex’s Dr Samuel Holt also revealed additional tools were being looked at to deliver specific data to assist bushfire authorities – including mapping areas in most need of hazard reduction measures.
“This is a critical tool as it is the density of both canopy and vegetation close to the ground that is a contributing factor to how fast a fire spreads,” Dr Holt said.
“The crippling east coast and Adelaide Hills bushfires of last December and January this year, are testimony as to why these emergent technologies can be part of the new frontline firefighters over our Australian summers,” he said.
The Adelaide-based aerial mapping specialist currently provides its services to areas including Noosa, Toowoomba, the Surat Basin, Cairns and Innisfail.