Commission Grantee UCSD ALERT

Looking Out to Protect California’s Citizens


In November of 2017 the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the Seismology Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), unveiled the new Alert SDG&E Cameras. These 15 high-definition cameras will improve public safety by livestreaming images from some of San Diego’s most fire-prone areas. This new system provides firefighters and the public with a virtual fire lookout tower equipped with real-time and on-demand time-lapse imagery up to 12 hours in the past to spot the first signs of fire ignition. Based on the UCSD/Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), which also includes seismic monitoring for earthquake early warning and has been supported by the Commission, these new mountaintop cameras enable early detection of fires in some of the most remote locations in Southern California.

Alert SDG&E (originally named AlertSoCal but renamed after generous support from San Diego Gas and Electric.

was developed by SIO and UNR and expands Southern California’s state-of-the-art earthquake and weather monitoring system to better detect fires in real time before they spread. The HPWREN network currently includes more than 64 fixed mountaintop cameras positioned in 16 remote locations across San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties to support public safety operations. New Alert SDG&E 4K high-definition, pan-tilt-zoom cameras, built on a design by UNR, will augment the existing HPWREN cameras.

“This technology brings us one step closer to providing public safety officials with an integrated hazards network to revolutionize how we detect and fight wildfire and other natural hazards in the United States,” said SIO research geophysicist Frank Vernon, the lead researcher of the HPWREN network.