Sand on fire: an interactive tangible 3D platform for the modeling and management of wildfires

This paper presents the current development of an interactive tangible 3D platform that is used to conduct wildfire training, incident command and community outreach activities by allowing one to interactively visualize a variety of scenarios on sand tables, based on underlying wildfire, traffic, smoke, rain and incident command models. The platform, which is part of a larger effort to create ambient interactive environments at the Santa Fe Complex, consists of a coordinated camera-projector pair that uses active surface projections to detect physical interaction on an actual sand table. Our hardware and software create simulations on sand surfaces, where the changeable 3D surface is an active part of the simulation. By decoupling the sensing of physical interactivity from the underlying models, our platform is model-agnostic and could be used to visualize fire propagation and evacuation models from a variety of sources. Its value lies primarily in the immediate reactivity of the touchable sand surface, which engages users more intimately than other traditional training and education tools. Keywords: sand table, interactive, tangible, platform, wildfire modeling, wildfire evacuation, emergency planning, traffic simulation, advanced visualizations, firefighter training.