Data Link

Data Link Project Overview

Many CoE projects and related technologies require data connectivity to fully function. This connectivity is often unavailable from commercial providers on wildland fires and other public safety incidents in Colorado due to terrain, vegetation, or distance from base stations. As a result, the CoE is conducting research into technologies that can extend an Internet connection or create a local data network in remote areas where Internet access is unavailable. This research includes both ground-based data networks and air-to-ground data links.

 Team Awareness Kit (TAK)

The CoE is working to provide map-based situational awareness to firefighters and other first responders when traditional Internet access is unavailable or unreliable. Much of the CoE’s work in this area has focused on the Team Awareness Kit (TAK). TAK is a geospatial mapping engine, originally developed for the Android operating system, that facilitates situational awareness, navigation, and data sharing. For more information, visit our TAK page.


Other completed work includes the following:

Rapidly Deployable Data Network Report

In the summer of 2019 the CoE purchased off-the-shelf radio and video equipment from Ubiquiti Networks, and fabricated a rapidly deployable data network to extend Internet connectivity into remote areas and enable video surveillance of wildland fires and other emergencies. CoE staff tested a radio network composed of three nodes, two of them solar powered, over the course of several days and received positive results. Following the test deployment the CoE took the data network to Lake City for an operational deployment, to assist the Hinsdale County Sheriff's Office with the monitoring of an avalanche debris pile upstream of Lake City, Colorado. Over 70 days the CoE's data network provided two live video streams of the debris pile to the Sheriff's Office with zero downtime. The system transmitted approximately 2.5 terabytes of data over two solar-powered wireless hops. The system eased the need to physically check the debris piles for water buildup or other changes, and was described by the Sheriff as a significant time-saver. The CoE will continue to explore use cases for this technology and will conduct additional deployments on real and simulated public safety incidents. Read the report here:

Rapidly Deployable Data Network Report: CoE-19-003.1