RTV Makes Hikers Easier to Find
By Lisa LaMotta, Editorial Intern
Getting lost in the mountains can be a scary experience; it is easy to wonder off a trail or get confused about which direction you are going. New technology from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories is now being used by the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council (AMRC) to help find and rescue lost hikers in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico.
The Rapid Terrain Visualization (RTV) precision-mapping synthetic aperture radar (SAR) was originally developed for military surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. The system uses a interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IFSAR) and two antennae at different elevations aboard an aircraft to create a 3-D map that shows the terrain details with an absolute height accuracy of less than two meters and a relative accuracy of less than one meter.
“We talked about Sandia’s capabilities to do precision terrain maps and realized that this technology could be useful in search and rescue missions,” said Dale Dubbert of the Sandia’s SAR Sensor Technology Department in a recent press release. “It had the potential of providing detailed information about terrain where searches are underway, including heights, locations of crevices and cliffs, and even different types of vegetation.”
The RTV has enabled rescuers to take less time when mapping out their routes on a rescue mission and has saved valuable time when concerning people’s lives.
Lisa LaMotta is an editorial intern for SCI magazine. She may be contacted at email@example.com.