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SARTrack Search and Rescue features

The SARTrack program was originally designed in 2007 for a Search and Rescue group in New Zealand, based on the Amateur Radio APRS protocol for Tracking and communications.
In the beginning of 2012 I decided to develop an international version, for the Amateur Radio (HAM) community, and SAR groups in other parts of the world.
This version, now available as Beta is used by several thousand HAM's and SAR people around the globe.

It can be used in HAM mode or SAR mode.  In SAR mode, all special Search and Rescue related functions become available.
Now the program is being used by SAR groups around the world, I have started a new level of development, to make SARTrack a full software package including all IT requirements for SAR (and related) organisations.
SARTrack will include full Operational Management functions.

SAREX 2009

This document will outline only the SAR specific features currently available in SARTrack, and what is in the planning for the next 6 months.

SARTrack is developed to be used in the field, without any Internet access available. Maps and other data are stored locally on the laptop, and can be used off-line. It is assumed that multiple laptops are normally in use at a remote location, connected together by a local LAN/WIFI access point.
In the intended situation, one laptop will be set up as the "server". This Laptop should always be available immediately when an operation starts.
All other SARTrack laptops will connect to this server, which on the local LAN is
automatic and does not require any TCP/IP setup.

However, if any of the SARTrack laptops has Internet access, all data (from all laptops) will also be available to the outside world, using any Internet APRS Server. This could be one of the APRS-IS worlwide servers, the FireNet network, or (preferably) a private SAR APRS Server.
SARTrack has established two such servers, one for New Zealand only, and one located in the Netherlands for general SAR use, directly linked to a large Internet fiber network. (You can connect to this APRS server at sartrack.nl )

SARTrack is an "Un-docked" application, which means all Windows (Maps, Operations Log, TimeLine, etc.) can be displayed if required on seperate monitors, specifically, a video projector. Also, as all SARTrack computers are linked together, you can have a Map on one laptop, the Operations Log on another, and the TimeLine on yet another. They will all stay in sync (if the Network is not interrupted).
 
SAR Group ID and Encryption.
As Search and Rescue information is often confidential, SARTrack is using a SAR Group ID, linked to a private Encryption Key.
This means that once a SAR group has selected an private ID (between 100 and 25600), all Messages and Operations Log information will be transmitted encrypted, and other groups will not see this data. This will also prevent any mixups with this type of data between groups using the same APRS server.
To block all other traffic (standard APRS Trackers, etc) a list of allowed Callsigns can be set up. All other traffic will be dropped.

Tracking and Objects.
Aside from the normal APRS Tracking features, using a TNC (Radio Modem) connected to a serial/USB port, SARTrack can now also decode commercial VHF radios with a build-in GPS tracker. At this point, the Kenwood FleetSync radios are supported.
SARTrack will convert the incoming data from a connected Kenwood FleetSync radio into APRS Objects, which will then be displayed on all connected SARTrack PC's Maps (local or remote) complete with Tactical callsign and mulitcolor Tracks.
All manually added Objects also have a Tactical callsign and a separate track color.

SAREX 2010


Search Areas.

On a map, Search Areas can be drawn (with Tactical name and color), which will then show on all connected PC's.

Update of data.
As SARTrack is based on the APRS system, and every connected PC has its own copy of  the Stations and Objects database, a PC which is connected much later in the operation will not have the complete data. This includes the Tactical callsigns and track colors allocated earlier to Trackers, Stations and Objects, and any Search Areas.
A special "Update Request" button is available which will transmit a request to one of the other SARTrack PC's (normally the "Server"), and this will then send Updates back to the newly connected PC over the APRS network.

The SAR Operations Log.
Possibly the most powerfull feature of SARTrack is the Operations Log.
Currently the Operations Log enables you to enter all operational actions on the Log. A special Radio Operator screen is available to quickly transfer radio communications from Teams in the field to and from  the Operations team. All LOG entries can be marked as Actioned when processed.
All Messaging and many other events are logged automatically in the background. So, a full and complete SAROP Log is produced, which is available for later evaluation and possible Police and coroner inquests.

The Standard Operations Log window (sequential)

SAR Log example



The TimeLine ("whiteboard") window.


TimeLine example


The Status window.

Status window


Statistical Rings and Dispersion Angles
Based on the International Search & Rescue Incident Database (ISRID) and the book Lost Person Behavior by Robert Koester, SARTrack can now display a Statistical Ring system, including (optional) Dispersion lines.
Also optional is a 'Travel Circle' which shows an expanding circle based on estimated speed since Last Seen (not shown on example).

Dispersion Circles 


For a full explanation with screenshots, click here.


REPLAY system.
SARTrack can replay the entire operation afterwards.  The replay will play back all Tracks, adding of Objects, Areas, all Messaging and even the Operations Log.


NEW: Operational Management.


The development of the new Operational Management functions is now in progress, and is partly complete. However, many additional features are still being added.
The new features are developed in direct consultation with SAR groups, currently New Zealand LandSAR and several groups in Canada.
Any other people want to supply feedback, which would be greatly appreciated, please subscribe to the special Mailing list set up for this purpose.
Just email info@sartrack.co.nz.

4 January 2015,

Bart Kindt
CEO, SARTrack developer