Wilderness search and rescue can be assisted by video searchers in manned aircraft. The video searcher's primary task is to find clues on the ground. Due to altitude, it may be difficult to resolve details on the ground with a standard video camera. As the video streams at a constant frame rate, the searcher may become distracted by other tasks. While handling these tasks the searcher may miss important clues or spend extra time flying over the search area; either outcome decreases both the effectiveness of the video searcher and the chances of successfully finding missing persons. We develop an efficient software system that allows the video searcher to deal with distractions while identifying, resolving, and geolocating clues using mixed-resolution video. We construct an inexpensive camera rig that feeds video and telemetry to this system. We also develop a simple flight simulator for generating synthetic search video for simulation and testing purposes. To validate our methods we conduct a user study and a field trial. An analysis of the user study results suggests that our system can combine the video streams without loss of performance in the primary or secondary search task. The resulting gains in screen-space efficiency can then be used to present more information, such as scene context or larger-resolution images. Additionally, the field trial suggests that the software is capable of robustly operating in a real-world environment.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Computer Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





Wilderness Search and Rescue, Mixed-Resolution Video, Homography