How to learn to stay within a research area?

Only during a search exercise one realizes how fast time passes.

One plans to do a certain job, but sometimes it’s hard to achieve the predeterminated goal.

We stop, we look around, we make the stoke of the situation, trying to understand where we are, and so many doubts arise: is there a map? where did I put it? you look for it in the trousers, in the jecket; it’s raining…is it wet? What about GPS? We have it, but where? In which pocket? has it been turned on? how was it set? and the batteries? 

At this point, why don’t we learn how to control where we are- are we in the assigned area, doing the “right thing”?, only by giving a blink of an eye on our wrist?

Yes! Yes we can do it and we will see also how and why, true Davide Quaglini?

During a training session, I tried to use a watch to learn how to stay within the assigned area, respecting the initially stated search tactic. Difficult? Yes, the first time I had difficulties. Afterwords, by adjusting some device settings, making them more personalized, and more functional,  I was able not only to follow and verify the work in real time, but also to optimize the search tactics in the field. 

As always, the "Pros" come alongside with "Cons", at it is necessary to finde the right balance.

The sportwatch that guarantees a minimum of functional performance that we need: 

· it has its cost 

· it has a small screen 

· it has a limited autonomy 

· I have to know how to use it 

· etc ... 

However I have put in the field what I had. I took and exhumed my old and reliable Garmin Fenix 2 and compared it, to a cheaper smartwatch, the Amazfit Pace. 

The result? There it is!

We need to keep in mind that a sportwatch or smartwatch are not the Palm GPS with an external antenna; they are tools that do a lot of things good, but they are not created to be used the way we are going to use them.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the representative accuracy of a sportwatch or smartwatch that has a 1.5 inch screen does not have the same visualisation as a GPS with a 3 inch or larger screen;

The second thing to take in the consideration is that, the size of the trace varies from 1.2 meters to 3 meters per pixel, depending on the model and the zoom we apply;

Furthermore, the possibility of putting a background map or not can help or distract us - think about contour lines, roads, paths, streams, tracks ... all together in the 1.5 inch screen where each pixel represents about 2 meters, or have only the trace of the area and the registration of the work being done.

Another very important aspect that doesn’t have to be underestimated is the battery life. 

In a training session or during an emergency, the intervention can last several hours, leading to the discharge of the battery and therefore to the shutdown of the device. 

The technology in this sense has created competition and generated a whole series of more or less simple and more or less technologically advanced devices.

We are not going to look an aesthetics, weil it is an Optional too subjected to individuality, we are going to make a focus on how to implement this idea of using a sportswatch or smartwatch in research.

To optimize the work, first of all it would be advisable to eliminate all those things that could create confusion and / or distraction: let's remove the background maps, exempt roads; we activate the track of the area in which we want to learn to stay; we set the clock for a sport such as running or walking. Remember to activate the map view in the registration options and maybe, where possible, set a light color for the area and, a visible color for a registration, preferably in contrast with the color that we choose for the area.

The thing is relatively simple, eventhough we need to use the Function of displaying the track in anomalous way. In this case, we use the function of displaying the track to follow, as the perimeter of our working area (blue track).

As you can see in the image, the sportwatch track (yellow track) and smartwatch (red track) track overlap and do not differ much. Therefore, there reliability is also similar.

We wait for the clock to tune with the satellites and there we go!

At the end, we download and analyze the recorded track, verifying wheather the work done is consistent with the hypothesized intervention tactic.

Good job and let me know!

practical exercise with Avab Protezione Civile Pederobba

A little bit of...
cartography, gps, radio, rescue dogs. mantrailing, coordination, ics...

Thank you all

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video analysis

Overlaying the video with a smoke effect to show how the air is swirling around the dog you can understand how the dog is searching.
Without the overlay with the video and the smoke it would not be possible to verify the work.

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Not just dogs.

Lesson on using GPS to rescue SMTS of the red cross from Veneto Italy

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the GPS in search and rescue workshop using the Gaucs method

On February 11th-12th 2017, in Rimini there was “the GPS in search and rescue workshop using the Gaucs method”.
The 2 days were dedicated to theory and practice on how to learn the basics of being able to use the GPS with  dog units during search and rescue
We started the first morning talking about the laws that regulate the search for missing people, then how the GPS works and how to use it in its best way.
There were 2 search sessions: one on Saturday afternoon and the second one on Sunday morning.
In the first session we started to learn how to  use the gps with a logistics person following the search, delegating to them the practical part on managing the search area based on the first estimations from the handler. The logistics persons regularly monitored the gps, To free the handler from having to take care of continually checking if he is inside the designated area. In this way the handler can give full attention to continuously search without distractions.
The second search was more based on the necessity to learn how to use the GPS continuously, so that both the handler and the logistic person can use it properly and how to adjust it according to different specific needs.
On Sunday afternoon we worked on the uploading the data on to the Gaucs page, analysing all the characteristics to be dealt with during the training of the dog unit to improve performance, not only regarding the coverage of the area, but also effectiveness wise. We talked about how this methodology can help:
- a handler in approaching and dealing with the search area, knowing deeply the characteristics of his/her own dog;
- a helper on how to enter the search area, according to the peculiarities of the dog unit working at that specific moment,
- a coach/trainer on how to see points of improvement, motivation and on the training…
- on how to evaluate or verify, not only during exams sessions , analyze the ability to work, to be able to evaluate all the activities during the year and see  where there are improvements or deficencies.
Not only lectures and practices but also discussions and advice, opinions and points of view on search techniquses and managing the search area.
Thank you to everybody for the 2 days spent together.

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