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POC, POD, POS. Minnesota Wing Air Branch Director Course. A question…. Do you want to put all your resources where subject is most likely to be? or Do you want to put all your resources where you are most likely to find the subject if they are there?

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Poc pod pos


Minnesota Wing

Air Branch Director Course

A question
A question…

  • Do you want to put all your resources where subject is most likely to be?


  • Do you want to put all your resources where you are most likely to find the subject if they are there?

  • The Answer is Both. You must balance the two to achieve the most effective search.

Poc pod pos1

  • Probability of Containment

  • Probability of Detection

  • Probability of Success

Theoretical search area
Theoretical Search Area

  • The worst case, maximum possible area within which the subject might be found.

No wind endurance

Flight level winds: 330/20

Aircraft Speed: 100 Kts

Endurance: 2 Hours



200 NM

Wind vector

Corrected for wind

Maximum possibility area


  • Probably of Containment Defined:

    • The probability that the search object is contained within the boundaries of an area, sub-area, or grid cell.

  • Also known as Probability of Area (POA). It is the likelihood the missing person or aircraft is within any given portion of the search area.


  • POC for the entire theoretical search area should be 100%. If not, expand your search area.

  • Each segment will have percentage of that POC based on clues, search manager experience, and other factors of the case.

  • POC can help us figure out where the subject is most likely to be.


  • Probability of Detection

  • Definition:

    • The probability of the search object being detected, assuming it was in the areas that were searched. POD is a function of coverage factor, sensor, search conditions and the accuracy with which the search facility navigates its assigned search pattern. Measures sensor effectiveness under the prevailing search conditions.


  • POD is not useful for searchers, but is very useful for search planners.

  • The only time you have 100% POD is if you actually find the target.

  • For Aircrews, use chart on back of 104 to calculate POD.


  • To figure out POD, we first need:

    • Sweep Width: a measure of the average ability of a given sensor to detect a specific search object under a specific set of environmental conditions.


  • Next we figure out coverage:

    • A measure of search quality or effectiveness. It relates searcher capability (sweep width) with searcher employment (track spacing) to determine how well the search area has been covered.


  • We have charts on the back of the CAPF 104 to help us figure out POD:


  • POD can also be used in reverse during planning to figure out how likely we will be in detecting an object if we searched that area.

  • We can figure out how to maximize our POD to ensure that we find.

Pod vs poc

  • POC: the likelihood you are searching in right place.

  • POD: the likelihood you will detect the person if you are in the right place.

  • Your goal is to search an area that is large enough to likely contain the object, but small enough that your searchers will be spaced closely enough to detect the object.


  • Probability of Success:

    • Defined: The probability of finding the search object with a particular search. For each sub-area searched, POS = POC x POD. Measures search effectiveness.

  • Used before a each search to help determine where to search and after a search to determine the overall Cumulative POS for the mission. (POSCum)