Today’s launch of a new web portal called MapSAR from Esri supplies “search and rescue (SAR) personnel with GIS tools, educational materials, and a virtual community for learning and sharing.”
The website is designed to help Search and Rescue operations find 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 worked together to develop the MapSAR application. MapSar gives all SAR personnel the tools and knowledge needed to effectively use GIS in their operations, no matter what their technical background. Mapping and planning functions will be able to be carried out within the incident command structure (ICS). GIS skills will be used to track search teams and assets for greater efficiency and safety.
According to press materials, 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.