Skip to Main Content
Current advances in localization and tracking technology have the potential to develop into much-needed tools for the saving of lives in emergency response and rescue missions, and for the safe-keeping of lives in military operations. However, civilian and military users face different environments and consequently have different user requirements. Even within the two broad fields of civilian and military applications, different types of personnel and indeed different types of missions face different needs and constraints. For instance, firefighters engaged in the suppression of a forest fire have other requirements than firefighters suppressing a fire in a high-rise building, or a conflagration in a large industrial complex full of hazardous materials. Military personnel engaged in counter-insurgency operations face requirements different from those tasked to rescue hostages held in a closed environment. This paper aims to survey the different requirements for localization and tracking technology by mission type, so that users can more easily determine their own specific technology needs. Although primarily aimed to describe requirements for military personnel, law enforcement officers, and firefighters, needs and constraints for several types of civilian applications are covered as well. Despite differences in requirements, it makes sense to develop technologies that will target several of these end-user groups. A new joint facility for development of requirements together with representatives from the various branches, and the evaluation of existing and emerging localization and tracking systems, would assist in the enabling of reliable and user-friendly capability to respond to, and recover from, all-hazards emergencies and combat operations.