11 April 2013

South Africa: SA Fire Alert System Goes International

A cutting-edge South African-developed application that uses satellite imaging to detect fires from space will soon be helping to combat the high incidence of wild fires in Angola, and is being piloted in six other countries.

Developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research's (CSIR's) Meraka Institute, the Advanced Fire Information System (AFIS) is a near real-time, wide area wild fire detection, monitoring and alerting system that uses satellite imaging.

Its advanced geo-spatial information processing system detects fires and alerts infrastructure owners, land managers, disaster management and fire protection personnel to fires in their areas.

The CSIR said in a statement on Wednesday that the system would be implemented in Angola - one of the most fire-prone countries in Africa - following the singing of a memorandum of understanding between the CSIR and the Angolan government's National Technology Center in March.

Capacity development in geo-spatial systems, and research into fire danger forecasting and burn area assessment, will be undertaken as part of the implementation project.

The CSIR's Lee Annamalai said negotiations to implement AFIS in several other countries were at an advanced state, with the system already being piloted in six countries.

Annamalai said the success of AFIS was an indication of the potentially significant contribution that earth observation could make to the South African economy, and of "the robust earth observation technology capability that is alive and well in the country".

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