Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

As wildfire season raged in California this fall, a startup a few states away used artificial intelligence to pinpoint the location of blazes there within minutes — in some cases far faster than these fires might otherwise be noticed by firefighters or civilians. Santa Fe-based Descartes Labs, which uses AI to analyze satellite imagery, launched its US wildfire detector in July. The company’s AI software pores over images coming in roughly every few minutes from two different US government weather satellites, in search of any changes — the presence of smoke, a shift in thermal infrared data showing hot spots — that could indicate a fire has ignited.

Source: CNN

Date: December 6th, 2019

Link (includes 3 minute 9 second video):


  1. The AI looks at thermal satellite imagery and then looks for hotspots. As the Descartes Labs scientists note, this is still a very difficult problem, because the temperature of the earth is constantly changing…so how do you know that a hotspot is a fire and not just the rising sun hitting the mountain?
  2. Are there other applications for this sort of technology?

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