The highly versatile tool can conduct search and rescue operations at sea
Mobile app ‘SARAT’ developed by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) based in Hyderabad, which can assist with searching for over 64 types of missing objects like boats, ships, man-over- board etc., at sea, was formally launched in New Delhi on Monday.
Work is currently on to integrate it with the Indian satellite INSAT for improved real-time transmission and relay of information, according to INCOIS Director Satheesh C. Shenoi.
The app was earlier released in the web format last year and will be made available for download from the Google Play Store. This will enable the Indian Coast Guard, Navy and Coastal Security Police to shorten search time during their various operations to minimise loss of life, injury and property damage. National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board chairman and Director General Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh launched SARAT at a meeting held at Vigyan Bhavan in the nation’s capital.
The app will help ensure quick action and make the system available to all. Request forms and generated responses have been 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, Dr Shenoi said.
In a statement released here, he said that the SARAT mobile app was a highly versatile tool, as conducting search and rescue operations at sea is extremely challenging and can be compared to the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack.
Search and rescue operations are most frequent during bad weather over the high seas, when the fisherfolk inadvertently venture out and their vessels capsize. App users can select a specific point where the person or object was last seen using the interactive map or they can select a nearby coastal location, approximate distance travelled and the bearing angle so that the missing point is calculated.
The most probable ‘Search Area’ is then generated and relayed in map form as well as a text message. The rescuer can share his GPS location in the app to calculate his closest route to easily reach the Search Area. To avoid connectivity issues the rescuer may use the SARAT app in advance while still on land, to determine the Search Area and then download the generated approach route (a PDF of the path will be provided as well).
Dr. Shenoi said the app was expected to be compatible with over 90% of Android-based handsets in use and includes support up to Marshmallow (API 23). The accuracy of SARAT has been validated using networks of drifting buoys and other instruments.
The SARAT system had earlier successfully assisted in 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 five days, he added.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – July 10th, 2017