New Location Tracking Software Helping Search and Rescue Locate Missing People

SAR Location App

There are over 1,000 Search and Rescue ‘callouts’ in B.C. every year, where individuals in the backcountry have become lost or injured and require assistance from SAR volunteers to find safety. Often, if individuals have a cell phone and can call for help, they have a hard time describing their whereabouts (or aren’t where they think they are). This results in lost time as SAR teams have to spend extra time tracking down the individuals before they can provide help.

Enter – a new web-app developed by Coquitlam SAR manager Michael Coyle. (I interviewed Michael a while back on a post about search and rescue in BC – a very interesting post which you can find here).

From the website:

When Search and Rescue (SAR) teams are looking for a lost subject, they often find that the lost people have a smart phone with a GPS but they don’t know how to get it to display their position, or send that position to the SAR team.

Sometimes, the lost people don’t even know SAR is looking for them!

In marginal communications conditions (remote location, cold temperatures, low batteries) this can make for some stressful conversations where the SAR members try to tell a lost person how to make their phone work.

This application is meant to solve part of that problem by automatically determining the phone’s location and allowing the subject to email, text, or just read the coordinates out over the phone.

For more details on how the app works and is already being used in local SAR callouts, check out this video from Global News:

The app is still fairly new, but has already been used with success in real-life callouts. The app is undergoing further development, where it will soon allow “real-time update of the subject’s position in geographic and UTM coordinates, displayed on a map and with a downloadable KML file with the placemark.”

It looks like a great app with the potential to save lives, locally and abroad.

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