NCDC will use information provided by DigitalGlobe to identify areas where catastrophic crown fires could occur.

DigitalGlobe has entered into an agreement with Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Native Communities Development Corporation (NCDC) to provide high-resolution satellite imagery for integration with NCDC's remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping technologies in order to provide a suite of wildfire risk assessment services.

NCDC uses DigitalGlobe's 60-centimeter resolution QuickBird satellite imagery in combination with advanced remote sensing, feature extraction and three-dimensional mapping techniques developed by NCDC's High Resolution Satellite Imagery and Mapping Division. These technologies enable NCDC to count, classify, map and measure individual trees; determine crown size, crown closure, open space and terrain context; and locate and map isolated structures situated within the Wildland Urban Interface. Using QuickBird's 2.4-meter resolution multispectral imagery, tree species can often be identified. This information is then used to identify high-density timber stands where hazardous fuels are likely to accumulate, thereby helping to identify areas where catastrophic crown fires could occur.

Because of the large geographic areas covered by the QuickBird satellite, NCDC is able to cost-effectively assess and map vast areas covering hundreds of square miles. In addition to mapping forested land, DigitalGlobe's imagery and NCDC's processing techniques are used to map access roads, water sources and power lines; identify potential escape routes, safety zones and staging areas; and locate remote unmapped structures. Combined with QuickBird's multispectral imagery, NCDC's analytical techniques can accurately identify roof composition, a critical factor in determining a structure's wildfire risk.

NCDC's and DigitalGlobe's Wildfire Assessment Services will provide critical data for developing wildfire risk assessment and mitigation plans, establishing defensive zones, and conducting strategic and tactical planning for emergency response and fire suppression.

NCDC serves North American native communities as well as federal, civil and commercial forestry markets. The organization is presently working on a forest composition and wildfire assessment contract with the Colorado State Forest Service, and has recently completed a major forestry assessment project for the Navajo Nation.

Source: DigitalGlobe, Jan. 29, 2004