Henrik Hagelin - WISE-FASS
Blog post #1
Describe the idea!
WISE-FASS is a modelling system designed to forecast spread of wildfires using terrain, ground cover and weather information as inputs. Maps (forecasts) of fire spread can greatly simplify the work of emergency services to suppress wildfires. WISE-FASS can therefore help them and authorities to save lives and to protect property and the environment in case of wildfire events.
Who are you?
MSc student in Geographical Information Science (GIS) who is waiting for an opportunity to defend my thesis. I have a BSc degree in physical geography, a 2 years degree in fire, rescue and safety work, and working experience as a firefighter. Sometimes I work as a professional photographer or editor. Whenever I get the chance, I escape the urban life to enjoy nature by, for example, hiking.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
A main focus during this summer will be on automatic retrieval and preprocessing of base data required for a simulation. I will continue networking with authorities and organisations regarding for example future testing of WISE-FASS and potential collaborations. Lastly, I will spend a lot of time looking into financing opportunities to continue the project after these three months.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
By the end of Leapfrogs 2019, I will know about future funding of the project required for further development of WISE-FASS. The rate-of-spread module is strengthened for a more realistic fire spread simulation and the overall performance of the system is increased to allow faster development and implementation of needed functionalities. Hopefully, I have also enabled initiation of a wildfire simulation, based on prevailing weather forecasts, from any location in Sweden.
Blog post #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
So far, the project has proceeded mostly according to the plan. However, some parts have taken more time than anticipated (see Q2). The application has been converted to use SI units as inputs, essential for further development, and it has gained more functionality. Lots of effort have been put into the preparatory modules that, when finished, allow initiation of wildfire simulations from any location in Sweden based on weather forecasts. Additionally, networking with authorities has continuied.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
Conversion of the application to use SI units was a rather straight forward process but when starting to implement more functionality I realised the model output was unrealistic. The reason proved to be erronious equations in published literature meaning I had to look up the original papers that introduced the specific concepts and then derive new equations from there. This was a very time consuming process. Other than that, everything has proceeded according to the original plan.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
My main focus during the remaining Leapfrogs time will be on completing the functionality that prepare input data. When completed, this can act as a stand alone service providing detailed maps of wildfire risk level as well as high resolution weather forecasts. This is nothing new as the data preparation is a preprocess to fire simulation however, the approach considering the processes separatelly is new. Networking with personel at Swedish authorities will continue but I will also reach out to other countries to explore the possibilities for collaboration.
How did you experience the three months?
These three summer months passed very quickly and provided plenty of opportunity to work on my project and to develop myself as an entrepreneur. The more I have been working on the project, the more I have come to realise that working as an entrepreneur suits me well. I will likely not find as much joy as an employee compared to when being my own boss. My creativity and ambition would also likely drop drastically.
What has been most difficult and what has been most enjoyable?
Getting in touch with people, interested in my project, has been a breeze due to the rather contemporary and relevant topic of my project. There is a great interest in my service both nationally and internationally, however, the greatest challenge I have faced has been finding funds denoting the importance of the Leapfrogs scholarship. This will likely change when the system can be tested. Seeing my ideas come to life has been the most enjoyable.
Will you continue working on your project in the future? If so, what is your next step?
Yes, I will continue working on the project while having a part time job. That way I have a great opportunity to distribute my time. I will continue working on the current ongoing implementations and expand my contact network aiming to find funding and people interested in joining the project.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
Do not be naive and fully trust trust-worthy sources of information. Always be critical in your review process. During this summer, I have read plenty of peer-reviewed literature and found many errors that, if implementing this information in my system could have introduced bugs causing the system to fail completely when testing. Luckily, I found those errors when checking the information and hopefully have prevented extensive debugging and day-long intensive headaches.
Do you have any tips to other new entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself and your project. Do not take things for granted. Most ideas are possible to realise as long as you have faith in yourself and your project, but success can only be achieved if convincing others of the need. The more you know your market, the easier convincing others will be meaning you should educated yourself in your field. This will further help to overcome obstacles and challenges arising along the path