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Title: An agent-based model reveals lost person behavior based on data from wilderness search and rescue
Abstract

Thousands of people are reported lost in the wilderness in the United States every year and locating these missing individuals as rapidly as possible depends on coordinated search and rescue (SAR) operations. As time passes, the search area grows, survival rate decreases, and searchers are faced with an increasingly daunting task of searching large areas in a short amount of time. To optimize the search process, mathematical models of lost person behavior with respect to landscape can be used in conjunction with current SAR practices. In this paper, we introduce an agent-based model of lost person behavior which allows agents to move on known landscapes with behavior defined as independent realizations of a random variable. The behavior random variable selects from a distribution of six known lost person reorientation strategies to simulate the agent’s trajectory. We systematically simulate a range of possible behavior distributions and find a best-fit behavioral profile for a hiker with the International Search and Rescue Incident Database. We validate these results with a leave-one-out analysis. This work represents the first time-discrete model of lost person dynamics validated with data from real SAR incidents and has the potential to improve current methods for wilderness SAR.

 
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Award ID(s):
1830414
NSF-PAR ID:
10365875
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Volume:
12
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2045-2322
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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