Search Organizations Using Mobile Devices to Help Find Missing Persons

As part of the leadership team for Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue (GPSAR), a volunteer group dedicated to finding lost persons, Mark Hopkins understands the importance of being connected. A matter of seconds can be the difference between life and death, and fast, reliable communication among a search party is the key to being effective.

At times, the resources available to volunteer organizations such as GPSAR can be few and far between, forcing teams to rely on slow processes and out-of-date technology to do a high-stakes, mobile job. 

Verizon Wireless teamed up with Mark Hopkins’ team at GPSAR to bring the latest technology and 4G LTE speeds to the organization. Devices such as LG Lucid and DROID RAZR MAXX smartphones and MiFi 4510L Jetpacks allow GPSAR teams to work out of cars or in the field on a search, with vital tools at their fingertips. 

“Before, we were scrambling to print copies of maps for everyone and hand them out, but it would be outdated within an hour, and we’d have to print something else,” said Hopkins. “Now, I can generate and mark-up the maps in real time and update it on the team’s smartphones immediately.” 

During a search, the team uses the mobile hotspot feature on their 4G LTE smartphones if needed. Hopkins said the devices have helped streamline dispatching, increase accountability, and increase real-time communication across search teams.

“The speed of Verizon 4G LTE is an advantage, it has really become invaluable to Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue.”