However, even the best cameras have an error range of as much as 500 meters which is not accurate enough to pinpoint water drops accurately. Water bombers can take an hour or more to reload and return while the fire continues to spread. Thousands of dollars can be spent on wasted water drops, and millions of dollars in damage can occur unnecessarily. Ikena X is used to mosaic the video from the spotter aircraft in real-time and immediately plot the mosaic onto accurate maps, allowing the “heat” sensed by the infrared camera to be accurately pinpointed on the map. Then, the water bombers can be given an accurate geo-location they can plot into their GPS and drop in the correct location.
Accuracy can be greatly improved by relating the location of the damage to the location of the nearest joint or fitting on the pipe, but the cameras pass so close to the pipe that they don’t capture a wide enough field of view to provide those visual reference points. Ikena X creates a seamless “mosaic” image where every frame of video is stitched with the previous frames to create an image of the entire pipe, such as the one you see here. With this image product, precise measurements can be derived from the position of the damaged area relative to the nearest joints and fittings.