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FLIR Systems Inc. on May 13 released electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) footage from recent environmental disasters including the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Footage and additional images can be viewed at http://www.gs.flir.com/disaster/.
Recording the footage was the Star SAFIRE HD from the company's Pilatus PC-12. The Star SAFIRE HD is the world's first and only all-digital, all-high definition (HD) EO/IR surveillance system. The system serves as the eyes for aircraft in reconnaissance, search-and-rescue, law enforcement and environmental protection missions for governments, militaries and defense communities across the globe. It was designed to record high-quality footage day or night, in some of the harshest environments around the world.
"This footage demonstrates FLIR's ability to aid in a variety of missions, allowing first-responders to have eyes looking into the middle of the disaster," said William A. Sundermeier, president of FLIR Government Systems. "The same technologies that are currently protecting our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are equally effective in these global disasters, by enhancing the understanding and reaction time during the most unforeseen circumstances."
"Although these systems provide breathtaking daylight color images, real-world rescues and crisis response operations usually take place at night or in adverse weather conditions," said Sundermeier. "We weigh this heavily when developing our technology to ensure crisp and clear images at night when EO/IR systems are most imperative."
The footage that was recorded off the Gulf Coast was utilized by the U.S. Coast Guard to more thoroughly evaluate the severity of the spill. FLIR began collaborating with the Coast Guard in 1984, and today their systems are on USCG helicopters, aircraft and ships, and are widely used within the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies around the world.