Augmented reality glasses for the fireline?

Google glasses

Google glassesGoogle is testing something they call “augmented reality glasses”. Employees at their Google X facility, which is like a Skunk Works or DARPA, that are working on “Project Glass” are wearing the glasses in public.

They look pretty cool when SHE is wearing them, but on a normal person, I can’t decide if they would be too nerdy, weird, or cool.

Would you wear them, or could you envision them being used for communicating on a wildland fire?

This video appears to show where they hope the project to be when or if it is introduced to the public.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

3 thoughts on “Augmented reality glasses for the fireline?”

  1. Forget communication; location of assets is key. These glasses know exactly where you are and what direction you are looking. I want to see map overlays showing location icons for every member of my crew, icons for every other crew, icons for engines, tankers and aircraft, add in LZs, escape routes, safety zones. Constructed lines, burn-outs, natural features and terrain from topo maps would be optional layers. Thermal maps showing retardant drops and active fireline and spot fires if possible in near real-time. Add in wind direction and speed vectors for my vision of situational awareness via augmented reality.
    This has been on my wish list for several years now. How about your ideas?

  2. I’m going to have to back-pedal a bit- even after viewing the video, I was still reacting to the “Augmented Reality” (AR) phrase in the title, and jumped on my soapbox to produce the above comment.
    Upon further reflection, this Project Glass seems to be more of a Heads Up Display (HUD) for your smartphone than it does AR. In contrast, many of the items that I put into the above comment are available today on any good smartphone. Need interactive digital maps with 3D terrain? Load Google Maps or Earth on your GPS-equipped phone and cache your area so that you can view without network contact. Works in the dark or in smoke. Want the map of the fire or other GIS data? Load it as a KML or KMZ file and have it as a map overlay. Need to update the data? Setup a WiFi access point at camp, so when you get back the files are automatically updated. Have a need for more frequent updates and/or message traffic? Mount a cellular repeater in an aircraft circling overhead; should be able to make contact for a few seconds on a regular basis even in very difficult terrain (enough for an emergency text message to get through).
    I’d really like to hear back from anyone who has tried anything like this in the wildlands; how about you pilots with maps on your iPads?

  3. Smartphones have made it into the workflows of GISSs. For the last few years we’ve been asked to prepare KMLs of relevant points and share them with firefighters using smartphones. Generally anything created on a type 1 or 2 incident is being uploaded at least daily to NIFC, where it is shared out as KML through GeoMAC ( Lots of room for wildland fire fighting to grow relative to this technology, but its catching on.

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