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Forest fires are a challenging problem for many countries. They often cause economical lost and ecological damage, and they can sometimes even cost human lives. Finding hot spots immediately after a fire is an important part of fighting forest fires. The main objective is to obtain a temperature map of the burned area, to locate the most critical embers. This information can help firefighter managers make the correct decisions about ground crew movements. The pervasive application described in this article lets firefighters obtain images of hot spots directly from an unmanned aircraft and receive commands from their manager through a communication network. Every firefighter holds a personal electronic device (PED), which includes a touch screen, Wi-Fi connectivity, a GPS receiver, and temperature sensors. Because terrain conditions such as abrupt ravines, rocks, and dense vegetation can introduce obstacles to connectivity, a balloon with a Wi-Fi device is tethered to every firefighter's truck to improve communication. In addition, a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft augments the number of communication layers to three. This article studies the quality of this three-layered network in maintaining the application's bandwidth requirements.
Date of Publication: October-December 2010