CMU Partners with Japan to Develop Satellite Wildfire Alert System for Improved Safety, Accuracy and Efficiency

26 March 2024

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

          CMU has launched the ‘Wildfire Alert System Powered by Satellites and Telecommunication Networks’ designed to address haze and wildfires in remote forest areas without signals, allowing for accurate hotspot data transmission and, thus, a more prompt response to wildfire incidents. The system resulted from a collaboration between CAMT CMU, led by Assistant Professor Dr. Phudinan Singkhamfu from the Software Engineering Department of the Cabinet Office of Japan and Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA). It has been piloted for the first time in Sri Lanna National Park areas, encompassing the three Chiang Mai districts of Mae Taeng, Chiang Dao and Phrao, with the sensor system being installed in more than 10 spots.

          The project was implemented by the Research Unit for Energy Economic & Ecological Management (3E), the Multidisciplinary Research Institute (MDRI) in collaboration with a team of Sony engineers, using ELTRST – a remote wireless observation system that has high stability and accuracy – and NTT Data, Japan, who designed the data transmission via satellite. It has also incorporated the sensor technology from the Dust Boy project, developed by CMU’s Associate Professor Dr. Sate Sampattagul and team, to test detection, remote signal transmission, and alert notification via the Michibiki satellite system or the QZSS, which is Japan’s positioning system that is capable of transmitting signals to non-urban and mountainous areas with high precision. The notification is sent as a short message to firefighters’ smartwatches and smartphones for them to identify the hotspots using GPS navigation. This technology allows officers to have prompt access to hotspot data in deep forest areas where other communication signals are unavailable and therefore are able to conduct assessment of the situation accordingly. As a result, they can promptly address a fire, with the aim to reduce its impact, to include haze and PM 2.5, as well as other hazards. So far, the sensor system has been installed in about 10 locations and the plan is to increase the number to 50 within the Sri Lanna National Park by the year 2025. The project is set to be upscaled under a close collaboration with the Cabinet Office and GISTDA in the future.
To improve the system further, Dr. Phudinan has sent graduate students from the Data Science Master’s program to Japan for three months of training in Edge Ai and IoT, scheduled from February to April 2024 at Sony Semiconductor Tokyo, with funding from the company.

          The launch on March 16, 2024, at the Mae Faek – Mae Ngat Operation and Maintenance Project was attended by CAMT CMU, led by Dr. Phudinan, the Cabinet Office of Japan, GISTDA, NTT Data Japan Corporation, Sony Group Corporation, PASCO Thailand, students from Chulalongkorn University (Team TAF), and Sri Lanna National Park. Dr. Damrongrit Niammuad, GISTDA Deputy Director, gave the opening speech with Mr. Kentaro Nagai, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Thailand, and Assistant Professor Dr. Somkeit Noamna, Assistant to the Dean of CAMT CMU, in attendance.