Tracking Pedestrians during Disasters


Communication networks are being used worldwide and Internet offers various services that made daily lives of people easier in many ways. However, depending only on Internet as a reliable communication source for disaster management may cause people suffer as possible infrastructure damages may disrupt the use of services. Considering vulnerabilities of the networks and Internet, researchers are nowadays focusing on development of networks resilient to disasters. The purpose of these networks is to provide and maintain acceptable level of service during natural or man-made disasters, as well as accidents or faults in infrastructure.


In times of natural or man-made disasters, missions such as safe evacuation of people from the disaster areas have critical importance. Considering large areas with limited vehicle use such as theme parks and state fairs, search and rescue of the pedestrians is a major challenge. Moreover, as an effect of disaster, damages to infrastructure may disrupt the use of Internet services. Therefore, alternative communication systems with disaster resilience are necessary for evacuation planning and guidance.


  • Alternative communication system with disaster resilience
  • Infrastructure-independent service for evacuation planning and guidance
  • Effective search and rescue operations


  • A method for tracking pedestrians and emergency events by opportunistic ad hoc communication
  • Smart-phones of pedestrians store and carry messages to a limited number of mobile sinks
  • Mobile sinks are responsible for communicating with smart-phones and reaching the emergent events effectively
  • Approaches for sink placement and mobility: Physical force based (PF), grid allocation based (GA) and road allocation based (RA)
  • The approaches achieve significantly better network coverage and higher rescue success without producing higher communication overhead

Downloads & Media

  • Link to GitHub repository for the simulation: Source Code (Disaster Mobility + Opportunistic Network Simulation)

Related Publications

  • G. Solmaz and D. Turgut. “Tracking Pedestrians and Emergent Events in Disaster Areas.” In Journal of Network and Computer Applications (JNCA), vol. 84, pp.55-67, April 2017.
    BibTeX   Article  

  • G. Solmaz and D. Turgut. “Tracking Evacuation of Pedestrians during Disasters.” In Proceedings of IEEE GLOBECOM'15, December 2015.
    BibTeX   Presentation   Paper  

Back to research home page