Thursday, June 27, 2013

Going to the Esri International User Conference 2013?

Going to the Esri International User Conference 2013?

If you have ever been to the Esri International User Conference - you know it can be overwhelming to navigate all of the activities during the week. Here are some tips if you are a "SARGIS geek" and will be attending (or things to follow up on if you can't make it)":

  1. EsriUC 2013 Public Safety Cheat Sheet

  2. Twitter hashtags: #EsriUC #EsriNSS

  3. GIS for Search and Rescue SIG Special Interest Group Meeting

  4. Using ArcGIS for Wilderness Search and Rescue Presentation

Yosemite Search in 2008

11-10 to 11-12-08 - Major Search for Missing Backpacker
A solo backpacker became stranded for twelve days in a remote area of the Yosemite high country, snowed in by a signifcant winter storm. With a search area of 400 square miles, YOSAR ground, air, and investigative personnel tried to locate the starving backpacker. For more on the full story go to

Video provided by Tom Patterson, Esri Public Safety Team.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Collecting and Analyzing Missing Person Data for Alzheimer Patients in British Columbia

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 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!