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Optimisation of tower site locations for camera-based wildfire detection systems

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/08/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number9
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)651-665
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/08/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Early forest fire detection can effectively be achieved by systems of specialised tower-mounted cameras. With the aim of maximising system visibility of smoke above a prescribed region, the process of selecting multiple tower sites from a large number of potential site locations is a complex combinatorial optimisation problem. Historically, these systems have been planned by foresters and locals with intimate knowledge of the terrain rather than by computational optimisation tools. When entering vast new territories, however, such knowledge and expertise may not be available to system planners. A tower site-selection optimisation framework that may be used in such circumstances is described in this paper. Metaheuristics are used to determine candidate site layouts for an area in the Nelspruit region in South Africa currently monitored by the ForestWatch detection system. Visibility cover superior to that of the existing system in the region is achieved and obtained in several days, whereas traditional approaches normally require months of speculation and planning. Following the results presented here, the optimisation framework is earmarked for use in future ForestWatch system planning.