The High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), a University of California San Diego partnership project led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, supports Internet-data applications in the research, education, and public safety realms.

HPWREN functions as a collaborative, Internet-connected cyberinfrastructure. The project supports a high-bandwidth wireless backbone and access data network in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties in areas that are typically not well-served by other technologies to reach the Internet. This includes backbone locations, typically sited on mountain tops, to connect often hard-to-reach areas in the remote Southern California back country.

Recent Image

Recently replaced web cam on Boucher Hill showing the Milky Way in the night sky. Click on the image to watch the animation.

Image Processing Experiments for Fire Plume Detection via Fixed HPWREN Cameras

This summary describes an exploratory HPWREN activity with its collaborators while not being a mainstream part of the project with dedicated resources. Continuation depends somewhat at the level of interest this generates.

August 23, 2019

Since HPWREN started to deploy cameras at its backbone sites in 2002 for persistent environmental observations (, it had been approached numerous times about concepts and technologies for automated fire plume detection. For varieties of reasons this has not yet resulted in a broad technology adaptation, with one of the main reasons often being an expectation of continuous and inefficient video streams from the cameras being sent across a multi-purpose network to centralized servers. However, more recent technologies such as small edge computing devices with built-in neural networks start making it realistic to co-locate equipment at mountain-top backbone sites, which then allows to read image data from a local camera at a rate higher than HPWREN's typical image acquisition actions, process it, and filter it through its neural network to then signal the probability of an event.

HPWREN Time Lapse or

Live Stream Videos

Fires, weather conditions, flooding, and other public safety conditions are scenarios where real-time sensor data distributions can become important aspects for situational awareness. HPWREN can now provide live feeds from most of its cameras, in addition to the post-processed videos shown at:

The animation below shows a fire at Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County, as seen from the combined North and East pointing camera images at the 69bravo helicopter deployment site. On the right part of the animation firehawk helicopters recharging water while hovering over one of the three 1000 gallon "pumpkins." The site was just automated, with the pumpkins refilling automatically between extractions. The video was encoded from once-per-minute frames at the original 5732x2026 pixel size of the combined images at 3 fps.

August 13, 2019 - Topanga Canyon Fire, helicopters and pumpkins, 180 degree view

HPWREN Web Cameras

Recently installed 360 degree view web cameras on Signal Peak.

Signal Peak is the highest mountain peak in the San Joaquin Hills area of Orange County.

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