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How Norway built a world-class Search and Rescue Service empowered by mobile data and Subtonomy REX

Norweigian Search and Rescue Helicopter can be more precise in rescue missions with help from Subtonomy

Norway’s integrated Search and Rescue (SAR) Service is a world-class, fully integrated set of government, voluntary and private enterprise services that together help thousands of people each year. Norwegian telecom operators play their part by utilizing the latest tech to help locate those in distress as quickly as possible.


Unprecedented scale and scope

Saving lives in Norway isn’t easy. This long, sparsely populated country stretches 1,752 kilometers from Linesnes in the south to the Svalbard archipelago in the north – roughly the distance from Oslo to Rome – and incorporates spectacular fjords, high mountains, and some of the world’s busiest seas. In 2023, the service undertook 8,901 missions in temperatures ranging from +35°C to –50°C, with teams battling demanding weather conditions such as ice, heavy snowfall, and hurricane-speed winds.


Founded in 1970, the Norwegian Search and Rescue (SAR) service enjoys broad political and societal support and works well. But it never stops looking for ways to improve its performance even further – including by taking advantage of the latest mobile and satellite technologies, software and devices to perform faster geolocation, decision-making, collaboration and communication.


Tech for good

Norwegian telecom operators have played a vital role in supporting the SAR Service’s response. Under EU and local legislation, they’re obligated to supply data to help pinpoint those in distress. But this isn’t just about compliance for them. The operators take their responsibilities very seriously and want to do everything they can to help save lives and create a safer society. This means providing location data as quickly as possible and ensuring that data is accurate.


That said, customers also have a right to privacy under GDPR, meaning that operators must have precise control over their data retrieval processes, in order to meet both their social and legal obligations.

Telia Norway's Terje Lilleåsen using REX from Subtonomy for precise Search and Rescue missions and geolocation services

Faster, more precise SAR geolocation with Subtonomy REX

As Telia’s Terje Lilleåsen has pointed out, geolocation looks like a piece of cake on the television, where characters press two buttons and instantly find someone. But life isn’t like CSI.

“In reality, geolocation isn’t that simple, and one must have a good technical understanding, proper support tools, and a robust mobile network to do it effectively,” Lilleåsen comments.


Subtonomy REX makes searches far easier to perform, because it aggregates data from diverse sources – such as passive probes, BSS & OSS, cells, CDRs, map solutions, devices and more – and displays it in ONE place for faster retrieval. The difference between the legacy approach to geolocation and the speed and accuracy Telia now has in Norway is astounding.

The average time to find a missing person has been reduced from 15 hours down to less than two 2 hours. c

Norway’s operators continue to develop new features to help improve geolocation even further. Telia Norway is excited about the inclusion of location polygons within the REX application. The combination of its lightning fast 5G network and REX’s new location features mean search areas have been reduced from several square kilometers down to one hundred meters – helping save lives with a combination of speed and precision.

Norway’s SAR Service is always poised for action, and Norway’s operators are doing everything they can to play their part in building a world-class search and rescue service that ensures people get the help they need when they need it most.  

In the last 100 helicopter searches, for example, 30 extra lives have been saved than would otherwise have been the case without advanced geolocation.


Read more about how Telia Norway are using Subtonomy REX to support advanced geolocation for SAR teams, or contact us below for more information.

Yes! I want to know how REX supports Search and Rescue missions in Norway


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