] GSM technology for saving lives

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] GSM technology for saving lives : Use of smart devices for finding missing people in rural areas

Szügy, HungaryHungary
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Association's tracking devices use a global positioning system to determine their position and then communicate it with a central computer, with the help of SIM cards provided by Vodafone Hungary, via the operator's GSM network. This allows them to monitor the areas already cleared and assess in what direction the search should proceed. The result is quick decisions and response, which may mean the difference between life and death in critical situations

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Anyone attempting to search for missing or stray people in order to save their lives has to face a tough challenge in Europe’s more extensive forests and regions farther from populated areas. Rescue dogs have been used for this job for some time, as their highly refined sense of smell from millennia of evolution helps tracking or—when no traces are available—in searching terrain based on airborne scents.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We seek to combine rescue dogs’ thousands of years old capabilities with state of the art IT and telecommunications technologies to develop a spatial IT rescue system to ensure that the person in charge of rescue operations continuously sees the momentary position of rescue dogs and their handlers, and areas that have already been or are yet to be searched. A rescue commander can thus rely on real-time data to control rescue resources unusually efficiently, owing to which the rescue crew can scour through a much greater area in much less time. On top of that, the safety of those participating in rescue operations is also greatly improved, since the commander knows the whereabouts of resources constantly and with great accuracy.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The first version of the spatial IT rescue system that could already be used in practice started operation at the start of 2013. A middle-aged woman in a confused state went missing from a house at the edge of a small town in Northern Hungary in April 2013. After a half-day search mounted by the police and relatives proved unsuccessful, the Cserhát Rescue Dog Association was alerted the next day. All traces had been trampled over by then so it was impossible to start the search on a hot trail. Thus, the association started scouring through the broad expanse of surrounding forests, which would have been a hopeless endeavor without using the spatial IT rescue system, relying on but paper maps and compasses, perhaps hand-held GPS receivers.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The most important alarms: - 03/22/2012: a missing 23-year-old man. Early in the morning we arrived at the scene with five people and two dogs. The search began after data reconciliation. Based on the dogs scent they led us to a nearby bus stop but the footprints were lost after, the search was unsuccessful, but the police started using the additional information gathered. According to the informing from the police the missing person returned to his home on the same day . - 04/06/2013: a missing 32-year-old woman whose husband had alerted our association in the early morning. We arrived to the scene with eight people and four dogs. The missing person has been found in the morning in the woods, she was cooled. First aid was given, and we took her to the ambulance from 2km away. The search was successful. -

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The full development of the spatial IT rescue system will be a fundamental change to the way rescue forces operate throughout Europe when seeking out missing persons in the field, as we will have a tool in our hands that makes fast rescue command and control based on real-time data possible instead of slow, cumbersome and sometimes haphazard direction. This will result in much more successful rescue operations, more lives can be saved, all thanks to business, society and the governmental sphere joining forces.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The combined capital intensity of cooperation partners is sufficient, from every aspect, to continue development. The basis for long term sustainability will be the fact that it will also be possible to use the system originally created for rescue purposes for industrial applications (forestry companies, hunting associations, etc.),

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

As far as we know, no one has ever attempted developing this kind of a spatial IT rescue system before. There are some organizations, such as the military, where similar tools are used to detect eg. a battlefield but these devices and systems are much more expensive.

Founding Story

Rescue dogs were first used in Nógrád County in November 2010, during a disaster management drill, when the scenario was that we had to seek out the passengers of a sports aeroplane that suffered an accident in the forests of the Cserhát mountain range. During the exercise, even the search teams that did not have any rescue dogs themselves came very close to getting lost in that enormous forest, so we almost had to rescue them as darkness fell. That is when we had the idea that field searches of this type should be controlled in a coordinated way with the help of a spatial IT system designed for this purpose which uses satellite positioning and the GSM network. Having regard to the fact the Vodafone Magyarország Zrt. was involved


The way cooperation partners found each other, work sharing and collaboration developed in was unbelievably lucky, particularly as these are the ultimate keys to the success of the project. Cserhát Rescue Dog Association’s leaders not only have substantial professional experience with canines, but are also skilled in IT, telecommunications, law and management, and are very much open towards new solutions and innovation.