SANOWA - Satellite Basend Emergency Call System for Lumberjacks

The objective of the project SANOWA (Satellite based emergency call system for lumberjacks) is the development of a demonstrator that will increase the safety of lumberjacks and facilitate rescue operations in case of an accident. Satellite navigation, autonomous sensors, wireless communication, and geoinformation systems are integrated in the demonstrator.

Short Description

A personal safety module carried by the lumberjacks will detect any motionlessness in case of an accident. The alarm will be forwarded wirelessly to a life-rucksack deposited in the immediate work area. The position of the rucksack is determined by integrating satellite navigation (GPS, EGNOS or Galileo), autonomous sensors, like electronic barometers, but also takes optional digital terrain models into account. The alarm message in combination with the position and further attributes is sent via a terrestrial GSM / GPRS network or a satellite communication link to the service centre.

The service centre receives the alarm message with the position of the person in distress, which is displayed on a digital map of the Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS facilitates identifying the closest team in the area, the shortest routes to approach the site, and the next medical and ambulance centre.

GIS-based analysis assists in deciding whether to alarm the mountain rescue rather than the ambulance, or in finding the next helicopter landing places. Using all this information, the person in charge in the service centre gets a better idea of the situation and can initiate the most appropriate actions, again supported by the system. Optional, the alarm message may also be forwarded directly to an emergency call centre like the main fire warden.

Alternatively, the men in the field might be alarmed through the system, if their life is at stake (i.e. thunderstorm warnings, forest fires). The service centre sends an alarm message to the life- rucksack in the area concerned, which then dispatches the information to the personal security modules of the lumberjacks if it is necessary. The risk of an accident will be reduced by this sequence of actions.

The system is modularly structured and designed to work for a lone worker as well as for a team of lumberjacks either in the manual wood work, in forest management or in cultural operations. The system may also be adapted to other applications like ambulances or fire fighters.

Project Partners


Intergraph Ges.m.b.H.


  • TeleConsult Austria GmbH
  • Österreichische Bundesforste AG
  • Vereinigung High Tech Marketing

Contact Address

Intergraph Ges.m.b.H.
Margaretenstraße 70/I/1
A-1050 Wien