VIDEO: FLYING FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
As one of the members of the Joint Interagency Task Force, the United States Environmental Protection Agency worked alongside the West Virginia National Guard and other state and federal agencies to support the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.
The EPA ASPECT aircraft recently helped ensure the safety of the crowds which gathered for the successful inauguration.
The Washington Times article “Mapping a picture of Earth’s minute particles from the sky” includes this info:
"For hours each night, a pilot flew a 1968 Aero Commander dual propeller airplane, crisscrossing the skies around the Capital Beltway. But because of what it carried, the plane actually is the only one of its kind in the country.
Inside, there’s a collection, among other technology, of infrared and gamma-ray spectrometers, a neutron detector, scanners, cameras and broadband satellite equipment that remotely transmit chemical and radiological data back to the scientists on the ground."
EPA ASPECT – On the SceneOn the scene, in the air, when needed, where needed. The EPA ASPECT aircraft continues to provide on-scene commanders with the information they need to make critical decisions.
Algorithms, aircraft, and scientific analysis that allows state of the art detection at a higher sensitivity make the ASPECT program unique. Wheels up on call make the program available when needed. A solid, well developed and practiced concept of operations (CONOPS) makes ASPECT repeatable and reliable.
The EPA’s Airborne ASPECT operations as described by KVUE news in Travis County, Texas:
"Pilots will be flying an ASPECT aircraft. It’s a dual-propeller plane with “US EPA” written on both wings. The plane uses a scanner to collect air samples and test for chemicals, dirty bombs or improvised nuclear devices. The aircraft sends the data to emergency officials and first responders.
“Today is a baseline measurement of the air quality. They’ll be looking for any chemical or radiological qualities in the air,” said Block Wednesday.
The aircraft is commonly used when big events come to town. This is the first time it’s flown in Travis County, according to Block. The ASPECT has been used at the Superbowl, the World Series, the Olympics, the Columbia shuttle recovery and for hurricane damage."
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The EPA ASPECT program is highlighted in the June, 2012 edition of Geospatial Today. In the article “Aiding National Response”, Paul Lewis describes the successful EPA ASPECT program.
According to the article, core requirements of the EPA ASPECT program included:
The EPA ASPECT program as established meets these core goals.
A fundamental need in an emergency is to have equipment and teams available who can react quickly. They must arrive on the scene of the emergency rapidly, and provide an assessment to the on-scene commander. This enables decision making. Every emergency situation is different, and often quickly evolving. The EPA ASPECT program gives the on-scene commander an information edge.
Building a National EPA ASPECT ProgramThe EPA ASPECT aircraft and program team are on call and operational today. They are prepared to be wheels up within one hour of first call. Expansion of this successful program to establish a national network of similar on-call, properly equipped aircraft will allow complete national coverage. With this national coverage, the EPA ASPECT program will scale gracefully to be ready to respond. With the correct number of aircraft and appropriate sensor systems the program can provide emergency response to any incident in under three hours.
In the article, the author relates specific examples in which data from the EPA ASPECT program has improved emergency response.
The ASPECT Program model compiled by Dr Thomas for controlling cost and maintaining a 24 hour a day 7 days a week operational capability is directly applicable and scalable to a national program.
Proven technology, in service and operational today, makes a persuasive case for expanding our national resources. The EPA ASPECT program is a successful model for expanding to a national scale.
Geospatial TodayGeospatial Today is a focused magazine that maps the diverse applicability of and innovations in the geospatial sector.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The tire fire at the Iowa City Landfill has been burning for more than a week, and city officials plan to stoke the flames to put them out faster.
City contractors prepared to launch an operation Monday that will involve using construction equipment to stir the piles of tires so they burn faster, and then covering them with dirt to suppress the burning.
See EPA on scene report here:
ASPECT Mission: Assist II
ASSIST II is a Fourier Transform – Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) sensor used as part of the Collaborative Atmosphere Measurement Program (CAMP). CAMP is an effort sponsored by the US Government to scientifically gather verifiable data that will prove or disprove the theory of global warming.
Fourier transform spectroscopy is defined well on Wikipedia as a measurement technique whereby spectra are collected based on measurements of the coherence of a radiative source, using time-domain or space-domain measurements of the electromagnetic radiation or other type of radiation.
Operationally the ASSIST II collects ground level water vapor and carbon dioxide data simultaneous with the ASPECT aircraft flying at 10k feet collecting mid-level data and a satellite overhead collecting high level data. The two areas of operation are over the land and water of Lake Livingston and the land and water near Lamont, Oklahoma.
Data will be collected 4 times, summer, fall, winter and spring however the ASSIST II will collect continuously though out the 12 months.
To read more about EPA activities on Climate change please go to the EPA Climate Change site.
Paul Lewis discusses ASPECT, an airborne suite of sensors that provides critical data in emergencies, including the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
In 2001 the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) Program became the United States only civil 24/7 operational airborne chemical, radiological, and situational awareness reporting capability. The ASPECT model of operation combines an airborne operational remote sensing suite with a research and development support team to provide essential situational awareness information to first responders and their local, state and federal lead agencies in accordance with the National Contingency Plan and EPA’s responsibility under Emergency Support Function 10 of the National Response Plan.
The ASPECT aircraft was deployed to Gulfport, Mississippi to provide airborne remotely sensed air monitoring and situational awareness data and products in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. Flying over 75 missions that included more than 250 hours of flight operation, ASPECT’s initial mission responsibility was to provide air-quality monitoring (i.e., identification of vapor species) during various oil burning operations. The ASPECT airborne wide-area infrared remote sensing spectral data was used to evaluate the hazard potential of vapors being produced from open-water oil burns near the Deepwater Horizon rig site. Later, it was used to aid in the identification of surface oil that could reach beaches and wetland areas.
In this video, Paul Lewis describes the instrumentation on ASPECT and how the various imagers and sensors are used to respond to disasters in near real time.
Lewis is program manager and scientist for the ASPECT Research and Development Program at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. He was interviewed at SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing 2011.
Wednesday, July 13, 2010, CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Correspondent Ines Ferre interviewed Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) who fought to keep the EPA’s ASPECT Aircraft flying. ASPECT (Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology) is the Nation’s only 24/7 airborne emergency response chemical and radiological mapping program. Dr. Robert Kroutil, the team’s lead scientist, figured out how to reprogram ASPECT’s software to ensure that it detect the difference between oil, oil sheen, algae blooms, and turbulent water. From the air, algae and oil look similar. ASPECT’s new capability to detect oil makes the aircraft invaluable to the efforts surrounding the environmental disaster that BP created on April 20, 2010.
Prior to Rep. Taylor’s leadership in organizing the response efforts for Mississippi, the response was characterized as playing Marco Polo in the Gulf like a bunch of headless chickens.
Leveraging his 13 years in the U.S. Coast Guard where he lead search and rescue efforts and his leadership in the Katrina aftermath, Rep. Taylor’s expertise has ensured that the ASPECT team remain in the Gulf and be tasked with flying the Mississippi Gulf. Equally as important, Rep. Taylor is the reason that the coordination between what was in the air, the ground, and the water has turned into a smoother, cooperative, and effective effort to prevent oil from entering the Mississippi Sound.