With eight national parks, 11 protected nature parks, and forests spreading over more than 34 percent of its land area, Croatia has a landscape worth visiting. One of the biggest threats to it, however, is posed by wildfires. These represent a constant danger to ecological systems, infrastructure, and human lives. The only effective way to minimize the damage caused by forest fires, in addition to taking preventive measures, is detecting them early and reacting to them quickly.
An integrated and intelligent video-based system from a Split-based, Croatian IT company works with infrastructure and services from Hrvatski Telekom to keep a constant eye on the surroundings in several Croatian national and nature parks – and reports signs of wildfires early on.
Analysis of video, meteorological, and geographical data
“iForestFire” is an ICT system that allows the video surveillance and analysis of vast areas, and offers the possibility to point equipment at inaccessible, remote areas, providing reliable data communication services in real time from there to the control center. Its modular design consists of both hardware (field equipment) and software. The field unit includes IP-based video cameras that can be controlled – pan, tilt, zoom – by the user via a web interface. The cameras are connected to a central processing unit at Hrvatski Telekom via the company’s telecommunications infrastructure, where the data is sent to be analyzed, processed, visualized, and archived.
iForestFire is based on three different types of data: real-time video data, real-time meteorological data, and data from a Geographical Information System (GIS). The GIS database stores geographical data (elevations, road locations, water resources, etc.) and other relevant information related to a geographic position, like fire history, rainwater resource locations, soil characteristics, local forest corridor maps, or tourist routes.
Saving money – and lives
Used in automatic mode, the forest fire detection system is based on various advanced image processing, image analysis, and image understanding algorithms. Its software structure is completely based on agent architecture. Intelligent software agents are responsible both for the collection of images and data and for the analyses. Intelligent algorithms analyze images, trying to discover the visual characteristics of a forest fire, particularly smoke development during the daytime and the appearance of flames at night.
For Croatia and its national and nature parks, that means: By helping to prevent wildfires, iForestFire not only decreases the financial damages caused by forest fires but, eventually, also increases the safety of citizens and tourists. Thanks to its modular design, it is also easily adaptable to other intended uses, making it an interesting choice for any institution or company that carries a responsibility for open areas.