Welcome to the SARApp Documentation Page. Here you will find useful information on getting started and using SARApp. You will also find a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact us at support@sarapp.com.

Coming Soon! The SARApp User’s Forum, where you can interact with other users for advice, tips, and suggestions.

DOCUMENTS

VIDEOS

  1. SARApp Overview


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL

  1. How much does SARApp cost?
    SARApp is currently being provided free of charge for non-profit use. Metron, Inc. intends to keep SARApp free for the SAR community.
  2. Will SARApp work in areas without cell coverage?
    Yes. The application will continue to collect and store GPS tracks and evidence locally on your mobile device until you reach 3G/4G or Wi-Fi coverage.
  3. What devices does SARApp support?
    The SARApp Client works on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, including the iPhone, iPad, and over 4,230 Android devices. It requires a GPS receiver and a camera, and is compatible with Android version 2.1 and later and iOS version 7.0 and later. The SARApp Server can be accessed from any internet-enabled device using any major browser.
  4. What impact will SARApp have on my device’s battery life?
    SARApp Client power requirements are variable and depend largely on the frequency with which the user configures the app to send track updates to the Server. Increase this number will help reduce battery usage. (See Advanced Topics below for details.) Automated updates to the Server can be disabled, resulting in significant power savings. NOTE: SARApp is designed to work in background mode while it is tracking to reduce battery usages. Once you have started tracking, exit SARApp by tap on the Home button or on Android the Back button until SARApp exits to put SARApp in background mode.
  5. How does SARApp handle information security?
    • SARApp enforces security at various levels using multiple mechanisms. Information in the SARApp Client is protected from unauthorized access by username and password. The SARApp Client communicates with the Server via the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, and the user’s password is encrypted before it is sent to the SARApp Server upon login. SARApp users must volunteer electronically to an organization via the Client to appear as an available resource to that organization. Searchers are required to input to whom they are volunteering rather than choosing from a list in order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of organizations using SARApp. Searchers only receive information on those searches to which they have been explicitly assigned by an organization.
    • The SARApp Server is hosted in Metron facilities. Metron is a Department of Defense (DOD) contractor and maintains physical office security as required by DOD standards. This includes alarmed spaces, badge access to spaces, documentation of visitors, and visitor escorts. Server accounts are granted on an individual basis, only after an organization has been vetted to determine its validity and need for access. Access to the SARApp Server requires an organization-specific username and password. The SARApp Server supports Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and automatically logs out users after a period of inactivity. Each organization can only view searches which they have created and searchers who have electronically volunteered to them. Organizations can specify, on a clue-specific and searcher-specific basis, which searchers are allowed to view clues collected in the field.
    • All information pertaining to a search – including tracks, field evidence, and subject information – is removed from each user’s device when they check out of a search, or when the search manager removes them from the search. All tracks and evidence collected by SARApp are stored in an application-specific location rather than shared directories on the device, and consequently are not available to other applications or users. As mentioned above, access to search information within the Client is password-protected.

GETTING STARTED

  1. How do I download the SARApp Client?
    The Client application is available on the Apple and Google Play App Stores.
  2. Do I need a SARApp Server account?
    Each organization that wishes to use SARApp will need a single SARApp Server account to create and manage searches. The account is designed to be shared among anyone in an organization that may assume the role of Incident Commander. Individual searchers within an organization only need to install the Client application on their mobile device.
  3. How do I register for an account on the SARApp Server?
    Please fill out the Online Registration Form. We will notify you by email when the account can be accessed. (Note: Your “Username” should be a generic login id for your organization.)
  4. What is the “Volunteer Alias”?
    SARApp Client users must specify an organization’s “Volunteer Alias” when checking in via the App in order to appear as an available resource to that organization on the SARApp Server. Please be careful to provide the exact spelling of your “Volunteer Alias” to searchers so they can successfully volunteer. (The field is NOT case sensitive). You may wish to keep your “Volunteer Alias” short – i.e. use your organization’s acronym – to avoid data input errors.

TROUBLESHOOTING

  1. I have downloaded the SARApp Client and checked in. How do I get an assignment so I can start tracking?
    In order for a searcher to use the SARApp Client, a search must first be created on the SARApp Server and the searcher must be assigned to it. Click the Refresh button (next to the Search field) on the “Mgmt.” tab to check for new assignments. If you still do not see an assignment, make sure you specified the correct “Volunteer Alias” when you checked in, and confirm that you have been issued an assignment on the SARApp Server.
  2. What if I forget my password?
    Contact us at support@sarapp.com for instructions on resetting your password.
  3. I received an “Invalid email” error after checking in. What should I do?
    Please update your profile with your correct email address via the “Login” tab. On Android devices, press the menu button, then “Update Profile”. On iOS devices, press the profile icon to the right of the “Username” field. Enter your email in the email field of the profile page, then hit save. You should now be able to check-in again.
  4. Why won’t video/audio evidence play on the SARApp Server?
    Make sure you enable the add-on for Windows Media Player.
  5. How do I avoid bad initial GPS waypoints?
    Some devices have better GPS receivers than others. The best way to avoid spurious initial waypoints is to wait until the device has acquired the GPS constellation before initiating tracking. This can best be done by starting tracking outside of buildings or other structures that obscure the view to the GPS satellites. Once spurious waypoints are recorded, there is no way to remove them without deleting the entire track.
  6. Why can’t I change my method for sending exported GPX tracks in the Android Client?
    The Android Client allows the user to select a default application for sending exported GPX tracks. You can clear the default setting by following these steps:
    1. From the home screen, tap the menu button.
    2. Choose settings, then Applications, then Manage applications.
    3. Scroll through the list until you find the entry for the relevant application (e.g. Dropbox or Email), then tap to open it.
    4. Tap the "Clear defaults" button.
    The next time you send a GPX track, SARApp will once again ask you to choose which application to use.
  7. Why does my location jump to the nearest cellular tower if I make a voice call while tracking?
    This is an issue with the GPS receivers on some devices. To prevent this on Android devices, configure your device to use only ‘GPS’ location services (i.e. turn off ‘Network’ location services).
  8. What should I do if I receive an "unknown error" when trying to check in on my iPhone/iPad?
    Ensure that push notifications are enabled for SARApp on your device and try checking in again.

ADVANCED TOPICS

  1. How do I change application settings in the SARApp Client?
    In the Android Client, go to the “Mgmt.” tab and press your device’s “Menu” key. In the iOS Client, go to the “Map” tab and press the information icon in the lower right-hand corner of the map.
  2. Can I control how frequently the SARApp Client transmits track updates to the SARApp Server?
    Yes. As noted above, decreasing this frequency can reduce the impact that SARApp has on your mobile device’s battery. The "Track Point Upload Interval" parameter – editable in the Client Settings tab (at the top level on iOS and under “Advanced Settings” on Android) – specifies the number of new GPS waypoints the Client will wait to collect (since the last track update) before transmitting a new track update to the Server. Increasing the interval will reduce network traffic as well as battery usage, but will result in longer durations between searcher location updates on the SARApp Server.
  3. Can I control how frequently the SARApp Client collects new GPS waypoints?
    Yes, though at present this feature is only available on the Android Client. In the Settings tab, the "Minimum Elapsed Time" and "Minimum Distance" parameters specify the minimum time (in seconds) and distance (in meters), respectively, between waypoints collected by the Client. Note that the time or distance between waypoints may be greater than these values, depending on how frequently the mobile device receives updated GPS coordinates. For both of these parameters, specifying a smaller value will cause the Client to collect more waypoints, resulting in a smoother track but also higher battery usage.
  4. How does GPS Track Smoothing work?
    The GPS track smoothing feature is designed to eliminate spurious GPS waypoints (e.g. those caused by an obstruction) from a searcher’s track on the SARApp Client. Track smoothing is turned on by default, and can be toggled on and off from the Settings page. When it is on, the App will compare each newly received GPS waypoint to the last waypoint recorded to determine if the user could have feasibly traveled the distance between them within the time elapsed. This determination is made by comparing the calculated speed of travel between the two waypoints against an assumed maximum speed, which is a function of the user-specified "Transport Mode" (set prior to initiating tracking on the “Mgmt.” tab). If the calculated speed exceeds the maximum speed, the newly received waypoint will be discarded. Consequently, the user should always select the fastest Transport Mode to be used during the current search assignment to ensure that all valid waypoints are kept. Alternatively, track smoothing can be turned off if the user wants to retain all collected waypoints.
  5. How do I interface with Mission Manager?
    Mission Manager is a web-based application developed by Radishworks, LLC for management of search activity and search team information. SARApp can be used with Mission Manager to provide a mobile interface for Mission Manager users. The SARApp Client provides volunteer data, track information, and evidence to a Search Manager using Mission Manager. To take advantage of this interface, the SARApp Client user must first have a Mission Manager Account.
    • SARApp Client users must obtain an API Key from Mission Manager before track data can be passed to Mission Manager for display. Log onto Mission Manager and select the "Member" tab. Under the "API Key" tab, click "Create or Reset" and then "Email" to have Mission Manager email an API key to your email of record. Open this email on your device, copy the key, exit your email, and start up the SARApp Client. Select Mission Manager as your Server, then paste in the API Key. Your device will now send SARApp tracking data and evidence to the Mission Manager Map for viewing.
    • Before the SARApp Client can download assignments and send data to Mission Manager, the Client user must be manually Checked In to an active Mission Manager Search, and the user must be assigned to a team and a search area.
    • Mission Manager accepts SARApp Client track waypoints every 30 seconds. This is a limitation imposed by Mission Manager which overrides the SARApp Client settings for the update rate.
    • At present, Mission Manager only accepts evidence in the form of pictures, which must be smaller than 2MB. Pictures over this limit will be rejected. You may have to configure your device's camera App to reduce the resolution of pictures it takes.
    • Mission Manager allows one track to be submitted per team. If a team is composed of multiple SARApp Client users, we recommend only one SARApp user provide track data at a time to represent the efforts of the entire team.
  6. How do I interface with NICS?
    Please refer to the NICS User Guide.

QUICK SERVER TIPS

  1. How do I share clues to volunteers in the field?
    Go to the “Map” tab, expand the “CLUES” section on the left side of the map, find the clue you want to share, click on the share icon on the right of the clue name, then check or uncheck the volunteer names who you wish to share or wish no longer to share and click the [OK] button.
  2. How do I measure distance between two points on SARApp Map
    Go to the “Map” tab, expand the “MAP RULER” section on the left side of the map, Use the drop-down combo-box to select the measurement unit (English or Metric), click on the ruler image on the right of the measurement unit to start the measurement on the Map, then drag any of the ruler pin points on the map to see the distance. NOTE: Multiple rulers can be added to the Map.