Pitney Bowes' research arm, Advanced Concepts and Technologies, recently launched the Fire Locator, a software-based data aggregator available to the public and public-safety agencies, said Arthur Berrill, the company's vice president.

Fire Locator brings together information from multiple sources on wildfires — and internationally, bush fires — in a public-accessible console, Berrill said. Sources include NASA's satellite-based MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer), which captures geothermal differences on the Earth's surface, including hot spots that are likely to be wildfires, he said.

"One of the main challenges was that the wildfires in California, there was information, but it was in various domains and owned by various people," Berrill said. "Nobody had all of the information in one place, so if you wanted to see infrared imaging or the crews' location, users had to go to different agencies. So we brought all of these pieces together."

Layered on top of the map are alarms about existing wildfires. The software integrates data from multiple sources to provide users with comprehensive views of both current and past wildfires, Berrill said. By entering a target address in the address bar, users are able to mark a location of interest on the map using Pitney Bowes MapInfo's geocoding technology. This allows users to track fires around a specific address, neighborhood or area of interest, he said.

And more public-safety agencies are finding interest in the software, Berrill said.

"The way to think about it that we are doing something that helps the public-safety and the fire teams because it provides a common reference point of all data," he said. "We are very interested in public-safety agencies who would like to contribute their data and grow the application."

The software is free and accessible at firelocator.net.