Ivan Allevi & Georgio Soldavini
Mountains can be very dangerous, particularly if the hiker has incorrect equipment, doesn’t take their own capabilities into account, or if they don’t remember that weather can change fast. Hikers can encounter a variety of problems (for example, thunderstorms, snake bites, or falls) that often prevent them from reaching help. Before embarking on their excursion, hikers often forget to collect information about how to call for help (such as telephone numbers); moreover, in the panic of an emergency, hikers are often unable to communicate the most important information: their own position! These factors all contribute to increased time between emergency services receiving notification of a problem and the rescue party arriving.
In this scenario, time is the most important factor for a rescue operation to be successful.
The main idea of the system we’ve conceived and designed consists of having devices, which hikers carry with them, that send GPS information and/or alarms to the system installed at the rescue centre. This system collects all this information and makes it available to the rescue team, which has an overview of the real-time situation at all times. The position of each device will be graphically displayed on the screen on a specific map.
Before an excursion, the hiker should request the device at the shelter/rescue centre, and if an emergency occurs, they are able to signal the problem by pressing a button on the device. However, devices also send positional information regularly at predefined intervals (for example, every minute). The rescue centre receives these signals and can respond immediately.
The devices are equipped with a GPS receiver and GSM/GPRS module; with these characteristics, the devices can send information about their GPS position, their own device identification (unique code id), and events such as “alarm button pressed”. Information is sent to rescue centre by GSM technology (SMS) for the reason that in the mountains, the GPRS signal is frequently not enough strong to permit stable communications. Moreover, the device can receive voices calls to predefined numbers (i.e.: rescue service phone number). The device’s GPS module is also able to correct its position with DGPS correction and send raw data to server for post-processing elaborations.
With this platform solution is also possible to pre-define routes, and use it to monitor whether hikers deviate significantly from their excursion path.
The platform is designed to provide active support to rescue monitoring activities in the mountain setting and to cater to the need expressed by Italian mountain communities to reduce time gap between hiking accidents and rescue service responses; and moreover, assist rescuers during search activities.
Allevi Ivan, Soldavini Giorgio
Via Vicolo Molino 2
21052 – Busto Arsizio (VA) – Italy
Phone. +39 – 331 – 32.46.82
Mobile. +39 – 348 – 92.30.576