AirMap, DJI Bring Drone Operators Real-Time Awareness of Wildfires

Posted by Betsy Lillian on July 14, 2016 No Comments

AirMap and DJI have added real-time wildfire alerts to their geofencing data to help keep unauthorized drones from interfering with firefighting operations.

AirMap, which provides airspace intelligence and navigation services to unmanned aircraft, now obtains wildfire information directly from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) incident command system and immediately pushes it to drone pilots through AirMap’s iOS and Web apps, AirMap’s application programming interface, and the GEO geofencing system included in the DJI GO flight control app.

According to the companies, this data is more current and includes more active wildfires than Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) published by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“AirMap delivers dynamic airspace intelligence to unmanned aircraft in order to provide the safest operating environment possible,” explains Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap. “Through our partnership with DJI and other drone manufacturers and application developers, more than 70 percent of the drones operated in the United States now benefit from wildfire information in real time.”

DJI and AirMap say the DOI records 300 new wildfires each day during summer fire season, and the vast majority of them start and spread faster than the time it takes to communicate and post the hazard as a TFR. Often, fires are extinguished before the TFR is issued, and in approximately half of those cases, the fires have been fought by specialized airplanes and helicopters, the companies explains.

“DJI wants to equip its customers with safety-critical information that will help our first responders, whether or not a TFR has been issued,” notes Brendan Schulman, DJI’s vice president of policy and legal affairs. “This enhancement to GEO will help prevent DJI drones from inadvertently taking off within, or flying into, a wildfire location without authorization.”

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