DOI: 10.1515/geo-2022-0517 ISSN:

Adopting a new approach for finding missing people using GIS techniques: A case study in Saudi Arabia’s desert area

Faisal Sulaiman Almujalli, Hamad Ahmed Altuwaijri
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


Every year, hundreds of people go missing in the wilderness of Saudi Arabia. There is an urgent need to examine modern geographic techniques for finding such people. Geographical information systems, for example, play a crucial role in wilderness search and rescue (WiSAR), not only in mapping probability areas but also in applying further analysis and modeling methods to reduce time and effort and to guide life-saving task forces in the right direction. In this study of a hypothetical missing-person case in Saudi Arabia, two standard WiSAR models are compared: ring and mobility. In the presented study situation, both models can be used. However, the new approach used in the mobility model drastically reduces the extent of the possible search area, from 101,787 km2 in the ring model to 335.34 km of likely trails and unpaved roads, and also provides exact directions to where the missing person may be found.

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