As part of my project for my GIS Certificate at the University of the Fraser Valley, I was required to complete a project of my choosing. As a SAR Manager for Ridge it only seemed natural to work on something that hopefully would be of some use and interest to the SAR community.
With Robert Koester’s book Lost Person Behavior and the ISRID database as a starting point, I looked at the information available from the local SAR teams in my area (southwestern British Columbia).
One team in particular, Surrey Search and Rescue, performs a large number of searches for missing Dementia subjects. Between Surrey SAR, Coquitlam SAR, and Ridge Meadows SAR I was able to gather the results of 51 searches spanning the years 2001 to 2012.
Using ESRI’s ArcMap 10.1 (see www.mapsar.net for more info), I plotted the PLS and Found locations of these subjects and from that, calculated their mean distance travelled as well as the over-all mean direction of travel. This data is based on searches that occur in the urban setting of a Westcoast Canadian city. Given more time and resources, a study of several diverse Canadian cities may yield results that differ from or are similar to the outcome of this project.
These types of searches are perhaps the most frustrating for a SAR team. With more studies like this and a well-populated database such as the ISRID database, SAR Managers may have one more tool to assist them in bringing about a successful conclusion to a difficult task.
I would like to acknowledge the guidance from my professor, Dr. Scott Shupe for making most of this course understandable and enjoyable.
- Rick Laing
Stay tuned for a similar study from Yosemite National Park!