Frequently Asked Quesitons About Lifelocator

Frequently Asked Questions

  • LifeLocator System
  • Survey Setup and Results
  • UWB Technology

When Should I Use LifeLocator versus Traditional Methods to Locate Victims?

The GSSI LifeLocator is a complementary tool  to traditional methods of search and rescue.  However, unlike canine searches, the LifeLocator is not subject to scent drift and does not get tired.  Since the LifeLocator specifically detects motion and breathing, it narrows the search & rescue effort to locating living victims.  LifeLocator does not require complete silence as is the case with audio-based systems.  And unlike video monitoring systems, LifeLocator does not require void spaces for line of sight access and can detect motion up to 10 meters from the sensor.

How Difficult is LifeLocator to Use?

The LifeLocator is very easy to operate. After system power up, the user can select Expanded View or a simple Locate View that displays information via a graphical user interface. In Locate View, detected motion is indicated on screen with a black square, breathing with a red circle. When motion or breathing is detected, the distance to the source is indicated on screen.

As with any tool, operator proficiency comes with regular practice using LifeLocator - highly recommended.


Why does the size of the black square (indicating movement while operating in Locate View) seem to change size?

The size of the red circles and black squares changes with detection confidence, the larger the icon, the higher the confidence level.

The distance indicated on the control unit to the victim appears to jump from one depth to another. Why?

The distance estimation is approximate. The average depth trend over time should indicate the distance to the victim.

What can I do to minimize false detections?

  • Maintain the 15 m clearance zone around the system
  • Consider survey conditions. Above ground motions (i.e. rescue personnel and dogs, overhanging tree limbs, and wind-blown vegetation) can create disrupt detection.

Hardware and software features in the LifeLocator TRx help mitigate these factors. These features include antenna shielding, signal floor indicator, and shock sensing (which senses for aftershock or system movements).

The breathing distance becomes shallower over a minute’s time- why?

Reflections from a breathing person return to the sensor from multiple paths depending on the complexities of the rubble pile. Some reflections with a longer return path may actually return a stronger signal than a reflected signal that took a more direct return path. This longer reflection may be only barely strong enough to be above our detection threshold, triggering the red breathing circle, but at a deeper depth than the actual distance to the victim.

But the good news is that once the system has locked onto the breathing of the victim, it now knows roughly where to look, and so starts to search for the first occurrence of this breathing pattern, which may be more shallow (and more faint) than its initial detection depth. In this way, we can take advantage of multiple reflectors AND eventually home in on the proper depth.


Is the Signal Coming Out of the Sensor Harmful?

No. The signal coming out of the sensor is approximately 1/100 the power level emitted from a cell phone and is completely safe for humans and animals.

I see that there is a new feature in the LifeLocator® TRx, called signal floor. What does it do and why?

The signal floor illustrated on the bottom of the data gives the approximate depth below which we cannot detect. At some point, the interference can be so bad that it limits system functionality (self-limits); to protect the operator from false detections. Special note: Our tests confirm that the operation of rescue band two-way radios outside the 15 m clearance zone do not restrict normal operation of the system.



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