INCOIS-Hyderabad develops app to search for missing objects in sea

By   |  Published: 10th Jul 2017  10:33 pm

Hyderabad: Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), has developed a mobile application SARAT (The Search and Rescue Aid Tool) that can assist with searching for over 64 types of missing ‘objects’ in the sea including boats, ships, man-over-board etc and will be available for download from the Google Play Store. The Chairman, National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board and Director General Indian Coast Guard, Rajendra Singh on Monday launched the mobile application SARAT at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

Conducting search and rescue operations at sea is extremely challenging and can be compared to the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. Typically search and rescue operations are most frequent during bad weather over the high seas, when fisher folk inadvertently venture out and their vessels capsize. The SARAT system enables Indian Coast Guard, Navy and Coastal Security Police to minimize search-time during their various operations to minimize loss of life, injury, and property damage. However, in such exigencies, quick action is vital and hence this mobile app has been developed to make this system conveniently available to all.

Request forms and generated responses are provided in local languages of all Indian coastal States so that fishermen can easily use it to search when their fellow fishermen are in distress. Users can select a specific point where the person or object was last seen using the application’s interactive map or they can select a nearby coastal location, approx. distance travelled and bearing angle so that the ‘last seen’ point is calculated. The most probable Search Area is then generated and relayed in map form as well as a text message.

The accuracy of SARAT is validated using networks of drifting buoys and other instruments. The SARAT system proved its mettle earlier by successfully assisting with recovery of the Indian Coast Guard’s missing Dornier aircraft off Chennai in 2015. The system can predict the most probable search area for up to 5 days.