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A field commander is the interface between the central decision making entity and the workers on the ground or in the air involved with fighting a wildfire.

One task for the field commander is to report back to the central command on many parameters of the firefighting effort. These include the state of the fire in particular areas, the state of people fighting the fire and their capacity to work more, and need for sleep, and also the state of the resources needed by the firefighter, for example water tanker trucks, food, tents, shovels, masks, and other firefighting equipment.

It may be very helpful for a field commander to coordinate photography, video, and sound recordings of the people, the fire, and the resources to help the field commander communicate with the central command. Digital communication would be very helpful here to provide quick contact, and avoid people having to courier the content in a potentially dangerous environment.

The field commander will also want to watch his or her personnel carefully to determine who may need a break or medical help. The field commander will manage all of the people he or she is in charge of, coordinating response efforts to particular parts of the fire, where to dig ditches and drop water, and other critical field decisions.

The field commander may also have to keep track of equipment or resources used, and injuries that may occur, for later billing/resolution after the firefighting is completed.

here's a good profile of a fire response commander:

here are some ways a field commander can utilize information technology (this is in the context of using an unmanned flying vehicle to survey an incident site:

Real-time data distribution: Status and Opportunities

Real time data distribution is currently planned to be handled in three different ways, depending on the tools and internet connectivity available. Scenarios 1 and 2 could reasonably be carried out today. Scenario 3 is in development and should be available within the next year or so, depending on funding profiles.

Scenario 1, Field Access:

A field commander would access the Internet server with a standard web browser, and download the most recent incident image or relevant data, or any historical (archived) images or data.

Scenario 2, Command Access:

A regional commander in the command center would have access to either processed or raw image or instrument data, and, additionally, ancillary data sets, available in different formats, on the Internet

Scenario 3, Digital Earth Augmented Access:

A field commander with a reasonably high speed Internet access, a regional commander in the command center, and (possibly) distributed disaster center personnel could, using freeware tools being co-developed by NASA and the OpenGIS Consortium, utilize resources on the "Digital Earth" in concert with real time imagery or other data. In this scenario, a user could, for example, overlay a road layer from one "Digital Earth" server over the real time incident assessment image, which was, itself, overlaid on a USGS digital orthophoto that was retrieved and re-projected by another server. At any time, current asset locations and descriptions can be downloaded and displayed.

Real-time data availability makes possible real-time retasking, as described below.

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