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Blog | 19 December 2023

How geodata contributes to locating missing persons

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How geodata really adds value

Signi Search Dogs

Signi search dogs is a non-profit organisation whose goal is to locate missing persons, both alive and deceased. They do this through search dogs and a professional team for diving, sonar, boating and ground search.

Cyclomedia geodata has also played an important role in the search for several years.

Since 2004, the foundation has been searching for missing persons weekly with its dogs in a wide variety of circumstances. This intensive effort not only demands the utmost from the dogs, but also from the 50 volunteers Signi counts.

Besides searches in the Netherlands, Signi search dogs have deployed their expertise in various international disaster areas. These included deployment during the tsunami in Japan, the earthquake in the Philippines and most recently in Turkey.

One thing is central to the work of Signi search dogs: finding missing persons and thus ending the uncertainty that affects those left behind in missing persons cases.

Good to know

What does Signi search dogs do?

We speak to Cor. One of the volunteers of Signi search dogs who deals with so-called cold cases. Among other things, Signi focuses on current missing persons and cold cases.

In current missing persons cases, founder Esther and other volunteers immediately start searching with the dogs. Often at the request of the missing person's family.

Signi's cold case team with driving forces Cor and Hennie deal with cold cases. This even goes back to missing persons cases from the Second World War. This involves a lot of preliminary research. Reliable, recent and historical geodata are very important to determine the search location.


The importance of geodata

Recent and historical aerial photographs or Cycloramas provide context about a search area or the route taken by a potential suspect to a find site. Have things changed before the disappearance and after?

In cold cases, the same issues are important, but point clouds also play a major role. This is because they show changes in the terrain. For example, can you see elevations in the landscape that are the size of a potential grave?

Working efficiently

Defining the spot

Before actual digging can take place to locate a missing person or persons, a location must be determined as well and precisely as possible.

Cor: "Previously, we might dig 10 holes in a search area, but often with no results. If you are 5cm off, you are 100% off".

By combining capabilities such as geodata, ground radar, the search dogs and help from companies in digging, we work much more efficiently and the chances of success are much higher.

Images tell more


Curious about the documentary on Signi Search Dogs?

In November 2022, Search! The Woman, the Dog and Death aired (dutch).

Watch documentary

Doing more with data

Street Smart

It is great to see organisations like Signi search dogs using our high-quality geodata for things that really matter when it matters.

Every day, our Street Smart application gives thousands of clients in government and business the insights they need to make a difference.

Organisations work smarter, more efficiently, safer and more sustainably by making decisions based on geodata and razor-sharp images.

Would you like to experience for yourself what difference working with Street Smart can make for you and your organisation? Then try it 4 weeks for free!

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