Purdue University has developed a system to analyze the historic response of U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue operations in the Great Lakes and assess the potential risks associated with hypothetical changes in the allocation of resources in the region.

The agency is required to stand watch and supervise search-and-rescue cases for mariners in distress. Coast Guard stations provide small boats to respond to search-and-rescue calls, and some of the stations are staffed by volunteers in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. However, due to attrition of this volunteer service over time, officials need to understand the potential impact of closing any units.

The visualization was designed to help Coast Guard analysts assess impacts of hypothetical small-boat station closures on response time, potential lives saved and property lost while highlighting regions that would be exposed to greater risk. It also enables a thorough assessment of all search-and-rescue operations conducted by each Coast Guard station in the Great Lakes region.

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Also: Learn about an antenna system used in remote monitoring of ocean storms and in search-and-rescue operations.