Esri announced the launch of a new web portal that supplies search and rescue (SAR) personnel with GIS tools, educational materials, and a virtual community for learning and sharing.
“The launch of the MapSAR website is the result of a community of search and rescue personnel linked together by their use of GIS,” says Russ Johnson, global director of disaster response for Esri. “The goal is to build on that work and supply standards, documents, and training to the international SAR community. We want to help these outstanding organizations and individuals with their very important job—finding lost people.”
GIS and SAR professionals from Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, Esri, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Mountaineer Rescue Group came together to develop the MapSAR application. It supplies all SAR personnel, regardless of technical background and skill, with the tools and knowledge needed to effectively use GIS in their operations. Staff members will be able to easily establish their own protocols and workflows to carry out the mapping and planning functions within the incident command structure (ICS). They will be able to apply GIS skills to effectively track search teams and assets for safety and operational efficiency.
The MapSAR site includes the following:
- MapSAR Tool: This free tool runs with Esri ArcGIS 10 software and enables maps to be generated, stored, and printed quickly so that search teams can deploy faster to look for missing people.
- SAR E-books: Two newly published e-books give personnel a rich array of information. Using GIS for Wildland Search and Rescue is a core instruction manual for developing a working knowledge of all things GIS for every team member. MapSAR User’s Manual is for more advanced GIS users and provides an introduction to and a detailed tutorial for MapSAR.
- Search and Rescue Forum: This peer-to-peer network provides a place to discuss technical challenges.
For more information, visit www.mapsar.net.