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Resilient System Solutions for Data Sharing

Michigan Tech

The overarching goal of this project is to deliver rich and informative data with a robust system that supports file transfer and access across disconnected, heterogeneous networks. Specifically, our research seeks to enhance and extend current operational data sharing capabilities for: 

  • Improved firefighter and public safety 
  • Better wildland fire predictions 
  • More informed fire operations (wildfire and prescribed fires)

The team has created new hardware and software systems that can improve access to complex data for wildland fire incident command firefighting in remote front line locations. This includes maps and other geospatial data useful for informed decision making.

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Quick Resources

Meet the Team 

Nancy HF French, Principal Investigator
Michigan Tech

Ezra Kissel
Indiana University

Susan Janiszewski*
Michigan Tech

* Team involved in 2021-2022 Demonstration Project

D Martin Swany*
Indiana University

William Buller
Michigan Tech

Evan Lang*
Michigan Tech

Micah Beck
University of Tennessee

Benjamin Hart*
Michigan Tech


Resilient Data Sharing: A demonstration of the WildfireDLN Data ferry system

Michigan Technological University was awarded a separate, one-year award to complete two demonstrations projects with the Corona California Fire Department and the Colorado Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting (Colorado CoE) under funding opportunity 2020- NIST-PSIAP-TABA-01. With the Corona Fire Department, they will test the compatibility of their WildifreDLN data ferry with the department’s Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) airborne platform and the data ferry’s efficient data use. With the Colorado CoE, their demonstration project will test the systems’ scalability and operational data collection functionality. During the two demonstrations, they will collect performance metrics of their system, of which they will supplement with interviews and questionnaires from the public safety participants.

WildfireDLN Project Overview

In addition to the threat of fire losses in the expanding wildland urban interface, smoke from fires has a direct impact on the air quality, visibility, and atmospheric chemistry. Improving access to information for wildland fire incident operations would improve public safety through effective fire containment and by improving air quality; and better decision-making could helping alleviate some cost burden of wildfire suppression. Our research team proposes a transformational application of networking and data logistics software in a project working closely with operational partners in the wildland fire incident operations logistical support centers.

The National Interagency Fire Center has put in place an enterprise geospatial portal (EGP) to improve the distribution, display, and analysis of geospatial information for wildland fire management. The EGP is a powerful tool that is in need of improved infrastructure for data sharing. Current data delivery capabilities cannot transmit some large data resources that have potential value for decision-making. We plan to improve wildland fire operations decision-making by building the next generation of data-sharing system we are calling the Wildland-fire Data Logistics Network (WildfireDLN).

The goal of the work is to improve sharing of operation-critical wildland fire data and information during wildfire incident operations through improved data access technologies. The project will involve workshops for scoping of user needs, software development, and building of prototype software-hardware system for demonstrating WildfireDLN.


  1. Work with the wildland fire management community to define specific requirements of an enhanced, resilient data sharing system (French/Beck);
  2. Co-develop software systems for data logistics based on existing tools (Swany), including future proofing and generation of ideas to advance capabilities with further R&D (Beck); and 
  3. Deploy and test prototype hardware-software system with fire operations personnel that integrates the new data sharing system with existing capabilities using relevant data (Hart).

The research planned addresses the need for improved resilience. The WildfireDLN will be designed to make current systems stronger, more integrated, and with more resilient features than current digital networking systems allow. WildfireDLN has three important attributes that directly support resilience concerns: Local operation, intermittent connectivity, and heterogeneous connectivity. The technologies (software systems) to be employed are well-vetted with components in active use around the world (TRL 7+). The WildfireDNL system will build from these components and use off-the-shelf hard-ware that will, after development, approach a TRL of 6 based on prototype testing and deployment in realistic scenarios.

Expected Outcomes

  1. A set of requirements defined by the end-user community in concert with the  project team technology experts for improving access to geospatial operational intelligence data and in-formation in an operational setting;
  2. Co-designed prototype of a software-hardware system (WildfireDLN) built from storage-enabled network components that allows for resilient and effective data sharing and communication during a wildland fire incident; and
  3. Documentation and reporting on system development and testing results of the WildfireDLN.

The research will also provide ideas for specification and early development of additional WildfireDLN capabilities. Results will be delivered through project re-ports, peer-reviewed publication, and at relevant meetings and conferences, including the annual Tactical Fire Remote Sensing Advisory Committee (TFRSAC).

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Created September 28, 2017, Updated December 30, 2022