Monday, December 03, 2012

Facebook Geo Tag Could Have Helped Rescuers Find MIssing Mt Hood Climber Sooner

Jeff Kish's FB Profile Pic
The good folks at Portland Mountain Rescue have done it again: they've found a missing climber who got caught in a storm on Mt. Hood and couldn't get down.

You've probably heard the story by now of Jeff Kish who brought along his cell phone and actually posted on Facebook about being stuck on the mountain.

But here's part of the story you may not have known.

When I interviewed Rocky Henderson of PMR last week I asked him about Kish's geo tag he posted on FB. I asked him if that helped them locate him. He said no, not really. But I later heard from Rocky via email that he'd reconsidered.
 Name: Rocky Henderson
City: Damascus

Comments: I may owe you an apology. Jeff Kish's Facebook posting was geotagged and had CCSO accessed it sooner we would have had additional info to plan our search.  In retrospect it should have been given greater attention.
Thanks for your plug for Portland Mountain Rescue
Well, of course he doesn't owe me an apology, but what we may have here is a realization of a new way to find climbers on Mt Hood. I asked him to be more specific in my reply email and this is what he said,

Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 2:42 PM
To: Victoria Taft
Subject: RE: Victoria Taft Show Comments

It was an additional clue that turned out to be extremely accurate.  When we plotted his geo tag it was within feet of where we found him.  He posted it , I believe before he called the sheriff or maybe right after. By viewing the Google satellite image it gave us a good feel for right where he was.
I am just saying that had we, the field teams, viewed that data before we left on the search we may have been able to find him sooner. So it could have been a factor.  We generally rely on the 911 geo fix data but we don't trust it entirely based on some bad experiences. This Facebook experience will make us aware of tools that can  and should be used.
Ah, technology. Once again it comes into play in, not only keeping abreast of the weather and routes, but how to be found with even greater accuracy. Facebook and Google did that. You can bet that PMR will begin recommending climbers post their geo tag in the future when they get into trouble.

Good stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff!
    Positive post from VT.
    Keep it comin'.