[PLUG-TALK] Lost person locator

Rich Shepard rshepard at appl-ecosys.com
Mon Oct 24 07:49:56 PDT 2016

   Oregonlive.com includes stories of a young hiker lost in the vicinity of
Bonneville Dam, and that the search has been called off. Not returning from
hiking or hunting and being reported as missing is not a rare occurrence; it
even happens to drivers following their in-vehicle GPS navigator into trouble
(e.g., the family lost in the southern Coast Range and the couple lost in
the Jarbidge are of northeastern Nevada).

   Back-country skiers often have available to them (for purchase or rent, I
believe) locators in case they're buried in an avalanche. Why not have
something similar, and at a very reasonable price, for hikers and others.
Yes, there is a not-inexpensive satellite phone/GPS receiver good for text
messages when lost, but it's probably too costly to be widely adapted.

   This group includes a lot of experienced folks who know hardware, radio.
and like to build things. Perhaps a battery-powered radio
transmitter/audible signaling unit could be inexpensively built (perhaps
from recycled cell phones or raspberry pi boards) and sold for a very
affordable price. This unit would not call for help, but would transmit
radio and audible signals that would allow searchers to focus their efforts.
A drone (or manned aircraft) could cover a lot of territory efficiently and
guide rescuers to save some lives that are otherwise lost.

   Details, such as how they could be automatically activated as well as
manually activated, need to be worked out, of course. With the abundant
resources found among PLUG members and Free Geek this could be a reasonable,
and profitable (money and awareness) project.


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