Ever been confused by a map?
We all know the feeling. But it’s the last thing you want when you’re fighting bushfires.
Luckily, researchers at Charles Darwin University have developed a solution that’s improving fire management around the world.
It works by “printing” a map in three dimensions and projecting simulated fire scenarios across a section of landscape.
The result looks like a hologram, allowing firefighters to observe and understand exactly how a real fire might behave in various conditions.
This helps them develop fire management plans that suit real circumstances, which means better control, less damage and less danger.
Dubbed the Projection Augmented Physical Landscapes tool, it’s being used in places as far away as Mexico and Indonesia.
And it’s achieved great results in Northern Australia, where Indigenous land managers are combining it with their own unique knowledge to support best practice.
Fire management employs hundreds of Indigenous rangers and generates millions of dollars for remote communities.
CDU researcher Rohan Fisher says the tool offers a new platform for Indigenous elders to share detailed understanding of local landscapes with younger generations and non-Indigenous people.
“Empowerment of Indigenous knowledge in a field dominated by hard science data is really an important aspect of this work,” he says.
“As is making sure the best science is easily used by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous land managers.”
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