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Weather Box

A system to empower the wildfire crew by automating the weather observation process
Thanks for the support of Paul Albee, Jenna James, Jay Thiagarajan from Allen Institute for AI.
Thanks for the support of Angie from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
And thanks Natallia for designing the nice logo.

What's the Challenge? 

Fire forecast is critical for saving lives, but it is difficult

“The forecast is for the fire activity to moderate as well, so it would be unexpected to see that much fire growth,”  said Chris Waters, Fire Behavior Analyst .
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Weather is the most variable element when anticipating fire behavior

Up-to-date weather information can be critical to fire-fighting agencies. 
Accurate forecasts of wind direction and speed help incident commanders make the best decisions to contain wildfires.
 

Manually weather observation near fireline is time-consuming and risky

* Fire weather is the use of meteorological parameters such as relative humidity, wind speed and direction, mixing heights, and soil moisture to determine whether conditions are favorable for fire growth and smoke dispersion. 

What solution did we build?

A systematic solution for automating the collection of real-time weather data near wildland fires

 
Process Overview
How we arrived the approach?
As wild is a new area for us, we need to learn a lot about the problem scope. We followed the Discover-Define-Prototype-Evaluation process and did rapid prototyping and evaluation of our design for 2 rounds.
Initial Design Question

How might we help wildland firefighting command crew to build robust and low-cost devices for automatic on-site weather data collection?

Research Questions 
Ask the right questions

 

01

Who are our users?

  • Who is going to interact with our device?
  • Who is going to use weather data?

02

What’s their current workflow?

  • How do they collect weather data now? What instruments are they using?
  • How do they need to use the data?

03

What’s wrong with the current solution?

  •  What are the pain points in their workflow?
     

04

How, when, and where will they deploy our device? 

 
Stakeholder Analysis
Who are our users? 
IMET, FOBS & FBAN
 
User Journey Map
What are their current workflows?
 
Reflection
What is the challenge during the process?

01.

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02.

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03.

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Research Synthesis
How do they collect data now?
During wildfires, firefighters/field observers need to use handheld weather belt kits to measure the weather data and record it on a table by hand.
Currently, fire crews use weather stations to collect hourly measurements of weather data in large areas when making decisions. 
Refined Design Question

How might we help the fire crew to collect weather data automatically and access the data easily in low signal coverage areas?

Prototype 1.0
Start by building a stupid one
Usability Test 1.0
What do we learn from that?
Prototype 2.0
Let's consider it as a system
Usability Test 2.0
What do we learn from that?

12/11/2020
We Launched it

Reflection
What is the challenge during the process?

01.

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02.

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03.

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