WanderSearch Equipment

Equipment used in the WanderSearch System

The equipment used in the WanderSearch program consists of several styles of devices (pendant/necklace, wrist, key-ring), a receiver unit, a roof mount aerial and a directional aerial.

Radio frequency devices come in three forms; pendants, wrist devices and key-ring devices. The pendants give the greatest signal range.
WanderSearch devices; pendants, wrist devices or key-ring devices. (Photo, Wandersearch Canterbury)
Search equipment includes receiver unit and aerials to track the radio frequency signal transmitted by the devices.
Search equipment; receiver and aerials. (Photo, Wandersearch Canterbury)

Some areas offer additional types of devices such as GPS capable devices. Contact your local area to enquire.


Radio Frequency (RF) devices are the primary type issued by WanderSearch groups around the country. There are three models of RF devices that people are able to choose from. These include a necklace, a key-ring and a wrist model. The devices are small enough not to be intrusive and the battery life is in-excess of six months. Each device has its own special frequency which is associated to the person using it.

Elderly person is very happy to be showing her pendant, if she goes wandering she knows that she can be found if she becomes lost.
Elderly lady with her pendant. (Photo, LandSAR)

There are several types of GPS models available. While these have the advantage of being self-managed and having features such as a working watch the battery life is significantly less at only 2-3 days compared to 6 months for the RF devices.

Young people with autism use wrist devices so they can be located should they go missing.
Young man with autism with a wrist device. (Photo, LandSAR)

2. Receiver unit and Aerials

The receiver unit, roof mount and directional aerials are used by trained volunteers and New Zealand Police personnel to assist them in defining the search area and locating the missing person in a timely manner.

Why WanderSearch has used Radio Frequency (RF) in the main over Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

The WanderSearch RF devices are what is considered old technology however there are several reasons why they are still being used:
a) A long battery life (they should last over six months).
b) Easy and robust for people to use (there are no switches or moving parts).
c) Small enough to be unobtrusive for people to wear.
d) Shower proof and can be worn without taking off for six months until they need to be refurbished.
e) They do not use the cell phone network and so function in areas that GPS cannot.