FORT COLLINS, Colo., July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In the summer of 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire devastated over 18,000 acres of land near Colorado Springs, Colorado and destroyed 346 homes causing $450M in damage. It was one of the most destructive fires in Colorado history and its impact continues to linger in many, often ominous ways.
Throughout the remote fire's burn scar, there is now a lack of vegetation – creating muddy runoff so pervasive that it opens up many lower areas to flash flooding, especially along the US Highway 24 Corridor.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has installed flood-monitoring stream gauge stations in many areas within the burn scar that communicate with emergency responders and the public. According to Andrew Stecklein of CDOT, these stations "have proven pivotal in CDOT's ability to react quickly to a potential flood event before lives are put in harm's way."
However, at one remote burn scar site in Williams Canyon communications were not until recently possible due to the steep and remote natural topography of the area. Two years ago, one man lost his life in this area while driving along Highway 24 during a flash flood. This was unacceptable to officials at both CDOT and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the two agencies most intimately involved with the aftermath of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
CDOT and USGS needed to find a way to overcome the remote and uncooperative terrain so that they could install a useful flood-monitoring and communications system at this site. In other words, they needed to find a way around Mother Nature's natural obstacles in Williams Canyon.
Of course, working around Mother Nature is much easier said than done. After one contractor tried and failed to deliver, 308 Systems of Fort Collins stepped in with a fixed site technology based upon their revolutionary mobile SATPAK and quickly enabled Internet access at the remote stream gauge site. The SATPAK is a briefcase based system that relays satellite or cellular Internet signals into traditionally inaccessible areas like mountain valleys and canyons. "Due to the remote location and need for mission critical communications, we looked at both satellite and cellular connections at the gauge house", said Mark Lueker, Director of Advanced Projects at 308 SYSTEMS. "Fortunately, for cost reasons, we were able to grab a weak 256kbps cellular signal on one remote ridgeline and boost it to 4Mbps down inside the canyon at the stream gauge". This SATPAK based fixed site cellular relay configuration in Williams Canyon now enables CDOT and USGS to successfully and consistently watch live streaming video, and monitor real-time streaming gauge flow rate data for possible flooding.
308 Systems in Fort Collins, Colorado, manufactures a broad range of mobile communications equipment, used by First Responder and military units around the world. The briefcase based SATPAK, and the entire mobile communications lineup from 308 Systems, are custom engineered to meet each users unique needs and come in a series of small packages. Coordinating with both CDOT and the USGS, 308 Systems worked closely to ensure that they truly can communicate reliably from anywhere.
In the case of Williams Canyon, 308 Systems created a solar-powered design that requires very low maintenance and delivers a Verizon Internet speed of about 4.2Mbps at a location inside a canyon over an hour hike away from civilization. The end result is reliable communication for CDOT and USGS, leading to enhanced protection of lives and property in this one area where Waldo was. As Andrew Stecklein from CDOT puts it, "308 [Systems] provided the expertise that was needed with the end result being an enhanced early flood warning system that is actively utilized in keeping the downstream town of Manitou Springs safe, as well as the 40,000 motorists that utilize US Highway 24 each day."
About 308 Systems
At the forefront of rugged field command and communications, for 17 years, 308 SYSTEMS has provided revolutionary Ultra-Agile Mobile Command and Communication solutions to a broad spectrum of commercial, government, and military customers. Product lines address mobile networking and mobile communications/command needs from remote and communications/power sterile environments, and include secure NIPR/SIPR encrypted systems. From its headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado, 308 SYSTEMS has established a legacy of innovation and leadership in developing advanced, integrated communication systems that satisfy the customized specifications of military, government and commercial clients. These technical capabilities are available on multiple General Services Administration (GSA) schedules, and are complemented by a focus upon technical excellence, quality products, and uncompromised integrity.
For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact Mr. Mark Lueker, Director of Advanced Projects at 970/282-7006 or email email@example.com.
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SOURCE 308 Systems