SARTopo includes object types that you will not find in CalTopo. If you are not familiar with using map objects, please go back to the All Users Chapter on Map Objects.
The additional SARTopo object types are based around managing searches. They include Operational Periods, Line, Buffer, and Area assignment types, clues, and resources.
This chapter will cover how to create and manipulate each of these object types. Examples used are aimed at Search and Rescue users, but other first response user types will gain a lot just the same.
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SAR-type objects build on the CalTopo object types. Operational Periods are essentially folders for storing and sorting assignments. Assignments are lines, buffers, and polygons with additional input fields that help communicate plans between the IC team and field teams. Clues are simplified markers, organized into their own folder. Finally, resources lets you list available resources, like search teams, that can be added to assignments.
The SAR objects live in the same menu as the CalTopo objects. To add one, use one of the same methods you use to add any other object: right click on the map, or use one of the two add menus - either in the left side bar or in the top menu bar.
An op period, or operational period or OP, is a method of grouping assignments so they can be displayed and tracked as a group. Unlike a folder, assignments added to an op period do not move into an op period folder. The assignments for an op period stay in the assignments list, but their color and display on the map are controlled by the op period settings.
When adding the op period, you can give it any name, then adjust the display settings. These include the color, thickness of the display line or outline, and opacity of the line or polygon (ie fill.) Press save to create the object. Op periods are stored in their own folder in the map object menu. Deleting an op period will not delete all of the assignments in that OP. The assignments designated as the deleted OP will return to being assignments with no OP set.
Assignments are available as line, buffer, or polygon (area) objects. Assignments have many more input fields than their regular map object counterparts. These input fields are the same regardless of the assignment is a line, buffer, or area assignment type.
You do not have to fill out any of the input fields in order to create the assignment. Draw it on the map using the same methods as you would for a similar map object, as described in the All Users section. After clicking the OK button, the assignment appears in the Assignments section of the left hand map objects menu, unless you designated a different folder. A common use case where users put an assignment in a different folder is to separate air or dog assignments from the group of ground team assignments.
Before going further into working with assignments, we need to cover the other SARTopo object types because they are relevant to using assignments.[Jump to Working with Assignments]().
Clues are a special type of marker object. Clues default to the clues folder, but can be moved to other folders as needed.
Clues might be used in a few different ways and thus they have different input fields to account for that. The label will show up in the object menu and on the map if labels are on for clues. If you right click on the map to add the clue, the coordinates will populate with the coordinates that you clicked on the map. Otherwise, you can add your own.
Clues can be added to an assignment to communicate an action to the field team in that assignment. Instructions options include Collect, Mark, or Ignore. Details provide a text description input, and location can be used to describe more specific details of where the clue is or may be found (ie tucked under the east side of a large rock).
Resources are database objects that let you attach specific teams, persons, or equipment to assignments. The input fields include Name, Assignment (drop menu that shows existing assignments), type (person or equipment), and agency.
Once you hit OK the resource appears in a Resources folder in the objects menu side bar. Resources cannot be moved to another folder.
To load many resources at once, you can create a CSV spreadsheet and import that file. Pro tip: getting the columns just right for import is tricky. The easiest way around this is to add one resource object, then export that resource to CSV, and use the resulting file as your template.
Your assignments are colored by operational period by default. If you want to display assignments in colors other than by OP, you can select from options here.
Click on Display Settings at the bottom of the assignments folder: Select which assignments you want to change the display settings for, based on the resource type field. Then select the method for designating color. You cannot select the final color itself.
Show The show settings allow you to display all the assignments, or only those with certain resource types designated, such as ground teams, dog teams, air, or OHV.
The images below show some examples of different combinations of display settings for the same set of assingments.
Bulk Operations on the assignment folder can both help you visualize the status of all the assignments at once, as well as to perform edit functions on multiple assignments. Again, bulk ops for assignments is very similar to the bulk ops you find in the all users section, though we get a few more options here.
The bulk ops window lists all of the assignments in the assignments folder along with some of the data input fields from the assignments. These columns are Letter, Number, Resource Type, Op Period, Status, Size, Team Size, Priority, Responsive POD, and Details.
Use any of the column headers to sort the table by that column. Some columns display their data in color so that you can quickly evaluate certain characteristics: status, priority, and POD. Depending on the size of your browser window, you may need to scroll the box horizontally to see all the information.
Print Individual Maps, Change Attributes, comparing Profiles, and Travel Plan are all covered in All Users.
Use command or control to select multiple lines.
Change attributes will let you update the fields in the assignments, so that you can move multiple assignments over to prepared status, switch operational periods or folder, change team size, priority level for the assignment, or more.
This feature makes it easy to create a bunch of assignment objects without worrying about entering the same details into each one. Fill out the relevant fields that make an assignment unique compared to the others, then use Bulk Ops to add things like resource type, team size, operational period, POD, radio frequencies, transportation, prepared by, and status.
Leaving a field blank in the change attributes dialog box will keep the existing setting or text for each field. For example, if you do not enter new text into the comments field, each item will keep the text that already existed.
Alter Sequence: Use the alter sequence function to add or change the number or letter series for a set of assignments. For example, you get the assignments prepared for the day, and are ready to add numbers to them to give them to teams. Select the relevant assignments in bulk ops, then choose either Reletter or Renumber.
Print Forms: Once your assignments are prepared you can use the links in bulk ops to prepare assignment paperwork for your Incident Action Plan (IAP). SARTopo provides three different forms via bulk ops: Team Assignment, Team Assignment Summary for IAP, and Team Assignment Summary for Deployment.