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Search and rescue (SAR) organizations have a long tradition of providing humanitarian aid to individuals lost or injured in the wilderness. In the past geospatial tools available to SAR teams were limited, but now teams have access to an ever-increasing types and volumes of geospatial information that have the potential to improve the results of back-country search operations. These include traditional sources such as e911 calls and Personal Locator Beacons, as well as emerging technologies such as the SPOT and Delorme locator devices and social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and others. The challenges facing SAR teams lie in understanding what information is available; how it may be accessed and managed; relative strengths and weaknesses; how it may be utilized in a time-sensitive situation; and how to use this information for post-event analysis, training and contributions to community knowledge.
This session will discuss several new sources and uses of geospatial information that may be encountered and used in the context of wilderness SAR missions, explain how the information may be accessed, and provide guidance on how to integrate these new information sources into mission management and training processes.