USING VIRTUAL SCENARIOS TO PRODUCE MACHINE LEARNABLE ENVIRONMENTS FOR WILDFIRE DETECTION AND SEGMENTATION
Today’s climatic proneness to extreme conditions together with human activity have been triggering a series of wildfire-related events that put at risk ecosystems, as well as animal and vegetal patrimony, while threatening dwellers nearby rural or urban areas. When intervention teams - firefighters, civil protection, police - acknowledge these events, usually they have already escalated to proportions hardly controllable mainly due wind gusts, fuel-like solo conditions, among other conditions that propitiate fire spreading. Currently, there is a wide range of camera-capable sensing systems that can be complemented with useful location data - for example, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) integrated cameras and IMU/GPS sensors, stationary surveillance systems - and processing components capable of fostering wildfire events detection and monitoring, thus providing accurate and faithful data for decision support. Precisely in what concerns to detection and monitoring, Deep Learning (DL) has been successfully applied to perform tasks involving classification and/or segmentation of objects of interest in several fields, such as Agriculture, Forestry and other similar areas. Usually, for an effective DL application, more specifically, based on imagery, datasets must rely on heavy and burdensome logistics to gather a representative problem formulation. What if putting together a dataset could be supported in customizable virtual environments, representing faithful situations to train machines, as it already occurs for human training in what regards some particular tasks (rescue operations, surgeries, industry assembling, etc.)? This work intends to propose not only a system to produce faithful virtual environments to complement and/or even supplant the need for dataset gathering logistics while eventually dealing with hypothetical proposals considering climate change events, but also to create tools for synthesizing wildfire environments for DL application. It will therefore enable to extend existing fire datasets with new data generated by human interaction and supervision, viable for training a computational entity. To that end, a study is presented to assess at which extent data virtually generated data can contribute to an effective DL system aiming to identify and segment fire, bearing in mind future developments of active monitoring systems to timely detect fire events and hopefully provide decision support systems to operational teams.