When it comes to fighting wildfires, every minute matters. This year, a team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison launched a system that can help detect them and alert NASA in just a matter of seconds. “This particular system that works with these satellites, our system is the only one that I know of in the United States that’s operating right now,” said Liam Gumley, UW Distinguished Scientist. Wildfires detected from space can now appear on the NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) online map faster than you can type in the website.
“We looked at the hardware systems that we have both in orbit and the receiving systems that we have here at UW and said, ‘We don’t see any reason why we couldn’t do this in 60 seconds,’” Gumley said.
That traditionally took 60 minutes with the existing system — until Gumley and his team launched UW’S low-latency data processing ground station 6 months ago.