Inmarsat BGAN to Bring Real-Time GIS Data to Remote Wildfire Teams

WASHINGTON & SAN DIEGO, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — September 8, 2009 — Inmarsat plc (LSE: ISAT), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, and the Immersive Visualization Center (SDSU “Viz Lab") at San Diego State University’s Homeland Security Program, today announced a new partnership to develop and test solutions to extend the availability of time-critical Geographic Information System (GIS) data to remote fire teams fighting wildfires.

Utilizing Inmarsat’s innovative Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service and building on cutting-edge visualization research at San Diego State University, the partnership will develop solutions to replace static, hours-old information with dynamic, real-time data.

“By delivering dynamic, real-time information about fire perimeters, weather and ground conditions, Inmarsat and the SDSU “Viz Lab” will enhance the ability of incident commanders to protect lives and property, and enhance the safety of fire-fighters in the field,” said Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, Vice President, Global Government Services at Inmarsat.

BGAN is the world’s first mobile satellite communications service to provide both voice and broadband data simultaneously through a single, highly-portable device on a global basis. Launched in 2005, BGAN is accessible worldwide, delivering broadband connectivity to users anywhere on the planet.

Dr. Eric Frost, Founder and Director of SDSU Immersive Visualization Center and Co-Director of the SDSU Homeland Security Master's Degree Program said: "This partnership is one more way the ‘Viz Lab’ is working to evaluate and enhance tools and technologies to help the fire service deal with potential hazards with accuracy and speed.”

Previously, GIS information critical to wildfire suppression was not reliably available to remote fire-fighters due to connectivity dead spots. Now, information can be delivered to teams operating beyond the reach of terrestrial landline and wireless networks using the BGAN voice, video and data network. The network can be accessed through small, highly-portable Inmarsat BGAN satellite terminals at speeds up to one-half MB/second. As a result, headquarters’ leadership, incident commanders and remote teams will all share up-to-the-minute situational awareness about the fire zone.

“From California to Florida and Melbourne to Athens, wildfires are a growing threat as land development extends beyond the traditional line of wildland-urban interface,” said Jack Deasy, Director for Civil Programs at Inmarsat. “By delivering GIS data sets adapted to a satellite-friendly format, BGAN allows fire-fighters in remote areas to access the same time-critical data fire-fighters in more developed areas depend on every day.”

About Inmarsat

Inmarsat plc (LSE: ISAT) is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organizations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. The company's services are delivered through a global network of more than 500 distribution partners and service providers operating in 180 countries. For the year ended 31 December 2008, Inmarsat plc had total revenue of US$ 996.7 million (2007: $576.5 million) with an EBITDA of US$531.2 million (2007: $388.1 million). For more information, please visit


GK Communications
Greg Kalish, 516-665-3292
Cell: 917-592-1942
Email Contact
San Diego State University
Dr. Eric G. Frost, 619-417-2982

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