Spot That Fire!

    The Challenge

    Build a crowdsourcing tool for citizens to contribute to early detection, verification, tracking, visualization, and notification of wildfires.


    Over the past year, we have witnessed long and arduous battles against record-breaking wildfires across the world. Some of these fires burned thousands of acres of land and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings. Additionally, smoke from the fire creates issues related to poor air quality, raising health concerns for people not just in the vicinity of the fire, but at distances hundreds of miles away.

    A key to preventing harmful wildfire destruction and spread is early and effective detection. NASA researchers have been striving to reduce the time it takes to detect fires using satellite information from 3-4 hours to ten minutes or less. Crowdsourcing can support real-time detection and monitoring of natural disasters, including wildfires. Your challenge is to develop a web-based or phone/tablet-based app that helps engage the public in wildfire prevention and early wildfire detection.

    Potential Considerations

    Teams are invited to develop a web-based or phone-based app that will allow citizens to participate in wildfire early detection, verification, tracking, visualization, and/or notification. Apps can focus on one or more of the following suggested topics, but you are not limited to these!

    Report a fire: e.g., upload textual and multimedia (such as picture or video with geolocation) materials, etc.

    Verify and screen fire reports: e.g., check with NASA fire database, cross-checking, verify whether a picture/video is fire-related (through machine learning for example), etc.

    ● Notify communities at risk: e.g., notify close-by residents and local fire departments, notify people driving in the vicinity, allow people to subscribe to fire warnings, etc.

    Track and visualize fires: e.g., show fire locations and tracks on maps, embed animation, display detailed fire data, etc.

    Build mashups: i.e., integrate geospatial data from various sources to provide innovative services to citizens (e.g., local weather and local traffic), typically through their published APIs (application programming interfaces)

    In order to make your efforts sustainable after the event and to allow the community to continue with your innovative ideas, your solution may:

    • Provide a brief description of the app or solution goal and design – what does it do and how
    • Offer the description (a story) of why this app or solution is important and what insights or future capabilities it provides with regard to fighting wildfires
    • Leverage NASA state-of-the-art technology, including: near-real-time fire database and satellite image processing APIs accessible through the NASA OpenNEX App Store
    • Provide a description of and links to other open-source tools used in the development

    How does your app encourage citizen participation to support this human-based remote sensing initiative on wildfires?

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    SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.