A team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) has developed a new app, called Horizoner, to help prevent and detect forest fires.
The application, currently in beta, calculates and reproduces graphically the relief corresponding to a specific location, altitude and orientation, usually those of the observer. In this way, the app simulates the landscape that the user is observing, which can be superimposed on a photograph captured at the same moment in order to help in the identification of points of interest.
It allows fast and accurate detections
On this graphic representation the user indicates what he suspects is the starting point of a fire (or any other point of interest related to emergency prevention) and the app returns the coordinates of that point and its location on a topographic map.
“Used by surveillance personnel,” says José Vicente Busquets, project director and researcher at the ITACA Institute of UPV, “it would allow a rapid and accurate determination of the coordinates of a fire spot sighted seconds before by those watchmen.”
The app also includes the functionality of being able to automatically send the captured photo to a previously configured email address, along with the coordinates of the point where the focus was found. In this way, it is a valuable tool for emergency services and the management of firefighting equipment.
“For the generation of the relief and identification of the points of interest”, adds the road engineer Gonzalo Gómez, “the app performs complex calculations based on our own algorithm that we have developed, using a digital terrain model (MDT)”.
Anyone can use it
Far from being an application only for professionals and specialists, it can be used by anyone who is touring the area (hikers, farmers, etc.). Thus, users of the mountain or nearby areas can become potential watchmen, since they have the possibility of transmitting to the emergency services the exact information of the location of the plume with ease, work that before could only be done verbally and approximately.
The software also has a wide recreational use, since it allows to identify the mountains or villages that the user is contemplating. Likewise, the app also orients the device towards previously indicated points on the map, which allows quick location of points of interest.
Source: UPV’s Information Office
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