Point of Beginning

Trimble GPS Helps Respond to Portugal Forest Fires

November 6, 2001
Trimble’s GPS technology will help firefighters to locate fires.

Trimble, Sunnyvale, Calif., announced that it has teamed with Portugal Telecom Inovacao SA and the Alvao Natural Park to help combat the frequent forest fires in the region. Trimble’s GPS technology will help firefighters to accurately locate and more quickly respond to forest fires.

The Alvao Natural Park is part of the Portuguese Institute for Nature Conservation. Despite having physical resources in place to tackle fire outbreaks, the fire fighters face the difficulty of navigating through the wilderness to reach the fire site, with limited knowledge of forest tracks, suitability for vehicles and location of natural water supplies. To help alleviate these problems, Alvao Natural Park has implemented the Emergencies Support System from Portugal Telecom Inovacao SA. The system works through GPS technology, short messaging service data communications and updated cartography. A local GIS provides cartography to help classify forest tracks that are suitable for vehicles. Details about the forest tracks and vehicles are captured and fed into Trimble’s CrossCheck GSM mobile communicator, which navigates the emergency services to the fire location and gives details of nearby water sources.