A hiker who got lost hiking Svinafellsjokull yesterday was found last night using his cell phone’s GSM, reports Morgunblaðið.
The Icelandic Coast Guard received an SMS request for assistance from the man, who got lost when the weather turned bad in the area, with heavy rain and less than five meters of visibility. The Coast Guard’s helicopter, which had devices on board for tracking GSM signals, was called out at 7:56 PM and located the man just after 1:15 AM.
The Coast Guard has been working closely with the Icelandic tech company Rögg to develop and test equipment which can utilize GSM signals to find missing persons. Landsvirkjun, the National Power company, has also looked into developing this technology further.
In order to find a lost person using GSM, the person must have bluetooth on their cell phone. A search plane can actually turn on the missing person’s cell phone to help in determining their location, if they are close enough to one another. The GSM in the cell phone will communicate automatically with the GSM on board the plane. Then the phone’s location can be targeted and sent ahead to search parties.