| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
“Forest Fire Management System” Project, in which the position information and other details of vehicles are monitored instantly, was brought to life in 2007 with the aim of:
- increasing efficiency in the fight against forest fires via Web-Based Mobile Applications,
- ensuring intervening in the fire quickly by enforcement units directing the nearest firefighting team and vehicles to the given coordinates immediately when a forest fire occurs,
- preventing unnecessary labor / costs by suppressing fires earlier,
- facilitating fire management by providing convenience to administrators in control, planning, and determining strategy by evaluating the positions, numbers and movements of vehicles around the area of fire on digital forestry maps,
- using the vehicles in equipment pool in a more economical, efficient, regular and reported system,
- saving time in the delivery of services, reducing errors and accidents caused by drivers through monitoring their speed and movements, and providing fuel savings,
- preventing undesired use of available vehicles by avoiding overlong breaks, idle time violations, operating zone and route violations,
- ensuring all vehicles operate at maximum efficiency, and providing the required assistance in emergencies, like a sudden rotation of the wind, by helicopters or other vehicles to earthmovers intervening fires.
The project, which started with 2727 mobile data transmit devices in 2007, has been expanded by installing on a total of 5450 vehicles (planes, helicopters, pumpers, dozers, graders, trailers and administrative vehicles) as of 2014.
Fire Management System provides getting accurate, uninterrupted and instant information regarding all the elements involved in a fire (aerial and land vehicles, earth movers, etc.). It has provided planning firefighting actions with minimum faults, creating, as a result, a modern organization and success in implementation.
Fire Management System, in terms of its users, is the virtual eye, information store, analysis source, feedback / data consultant for officials; in short, it’s an important actor in determining forest firefighting strategy and tactics.
This system has greatly contributed to its users as being the most accurate and immediately accessible information store for a reliable detection of damages resulting from a fire, or for any reports that might be required.
Financial portrait is another important issue. High costs might occur as a result of firefighting activities. Even when there aren’t any fires, an inability to control the dispatch and management of vehicles increases costs. Using the “Fire Management System” has provided significant savings in costs.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
“Arvento Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Management Systems” and “Turkcell Communication Services Inc.” have been operating as implementation partners.
Mobile Data Transmit Devices installed on vehicles have been provided by Arvento. These devices transfer position information from GPS satellites, temperature and similar telemetric information from connected sensors to the Control and Communication Center via GSM/GPRS network by using the Turkcell infrastructure. Incoming information is evaluated through the special software designed by Arvento and recorded to the data bank on servers. Users are able to follow the forest fire organization online. The system is available online in 11 languages.
Turkcell Communication Services Inc. provided GSM/GPRS solutions, establishing mobile base stations to expand the coverage area in forest lands and at the fires with tendency to spread.
130 engineers and technicians from the central and provincial units of GDF have been working on the project. 250 engineers working at Arvento provide technical support and make updates to the software in accordance with the demands.
1-Turkcell Communication Services Inc.
Turkish communication technologies company Turkcell has been operating in nine countries. It is the only Turkish company listed on the NYSE. The company has a total of 10 national patents and a total of 191 patent applications, including 29 international applications.
2- Arvento Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Management Systems Inc.
The company provides R&D and Manufacturing, Hardware Design and Development, Radio Frequency Design, Industrial-Mechanical Design, High-Level Software Design and Development, Embedded Software Design and Development, Systems Engineering, Fleet Management System, Industrial Automation, Telemetry and SCADA systems, and Call Center Services.
They have applications in Austria, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Kuwait, Tajikistan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Between 2007 and 2014, approximately 2 million US dollars of General Directorate of Forestr’s own resources has been expended for the Fire Management System. GDF has allocated enough budget for expenditures in the future.
A total of 130 engineers and technicians from the central and provincial units of the General Directorate of Forestry have been working on the project. 250 engineers from the Arvento Arvento Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Management Systems have been supporting the system and make updates to the software.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1. Local temperatures in locations of the vehicles are monitored in real time. For scientific purposes, fire behavior modeling is carried out with temperature and humidity information received instantly from the vehicles located at fire scenes.
2. Assistance to teams caught in the middle of fire, or faced with danger, is delivered through the emergency-call devices on each vehicle. The coordinates and other information for the vehicles asking for help are immediately found online within the system.
Between 2007 and 2014, a total of 29 pumpers in various regional directorates were caught in similar situations during fires. Exit of the officials and pumpers from the fire areas without any damage has been ensured by dropping water by helicopters. Information such as the phone numbers of drivers and technical crew, the trainings technical crew has attended for firefighting, the drivers operating a certain vehicle, and whether the technical crew has leadership skills or not, are instantly obtained.
3- When a forest fire location is received, all pumpers nearby, starting from the nearest pumper, are directed to the fire scene together with the region chief.
If it’s a critical region, or the fire is threatining, looking up the coordinates of the region on the Fire Management System, the nearest helicopters and earthmovers are also directed to the fire scene.
In a regional directorate, 3-5 fires can occur at the same time in the fire season. To suppress all these fires, necessary planning is made by taking combustible material, air humidity, wind and temperature conditions as basis; and, since fires may tend to grow on days with high risk, fire organization in the regional directorate is shifted to the fire regions gradually and forces from the nearby regional directorates are shifted to vacated areas.
4- Incoming pumpers are directed according to the information received by the teams that arrived the fire zone first, and, if necessary, reinforcement teams are also dispatched. If it is understood that the fire can not be extinguished with the possibilities of the regional directorate, it is reinforced with technical crew, workers, helicopters and earthmovers from other regions depending on the size of the fire.
5- After the growing danger of the fire has been averted, or the fire has been taken under control, all the vehicles moved to the fire zone are sent back as they are seen on the Fire Management System.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Two usernames and codes below have been assigned for the UN To examine the system in more detail.
User name: un1
User code: un1
User code2: un1
User name: un2
User code: un2
User code2: un2
Engineers and technicians from GDF and Arvento have been monitoring the system and making updates.
In 2007, Arvento Systems was available only in Turkish; but, since 2014 it has been made available in 10 other languages: English, German, Arabic, Persian, Russian, Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Romanian, Albanian and Georgian.
Mostly, this system is used in other countries not only for fire tracking, but also for other forestry affairs.
By adding a Fire Tracking System to the original system, all forest fires in Turkey are now monitored. Nearly 60 types of statistical data are recorded, such as the coordinates of fire location, causes of the fire, the amount of areas burnt, meteorological conditions, genus of the trees in the area, positive and negative situations that occurred, etc.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
When mobile data transmit devices were first installed on vehicles, employees mostly resisted this new application. They thought these were installed to monitor them, and people in GDF applying the system were met with questions like: “What will happen when we are monitored?” Or: “How can we deactivate the mobile data device?” There were such difficulties due to resistance to using the system.
As a result of the educational programs, this negative attitude dissappeared, and the benefits of the system were adopted by employees, solving the problem in a short period of time.
In areas where the population is not dense, problems related with the coverage area of GSM services sometimes occur, causing some disadvantage in the fires in rural areas.
Areas outside GSM coverage were determined, and measures were taken accordingly by the solution partners.
It is established according to statistical data that 96% of all forest fires are human initiated, given that fires of unknown origin are human-caused as well. That’s why the measures taken against fires are also human-oriented.
An increase in the amount of forest fires recently, for various reasons, is observed; yet, as a result of the precautions taken, and the sensitivity on forest fires, a decrease in the amount of areas burned is observed as well. In recent years, there has been seen a significant increase in public awareness about forest fires. Local villagers are legally responsible of participating in fire-fighting and, in addition, local authorities and armed forces make an important contribution.
With “Forest Fire Management System,” various types of geographical data in the inventory of GDF were stored by means of modern GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Technologies, which made it possible for administrators to manage and share resources online, and to make their decisions faster.