Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems

Project Highlights
Team Members
Partner Organizations
Seminar Series

Multi-criteria Mission Route Planning for Search, Surveillance and Rescue in Hazardous Environments


The mission of the Canadian Forces as defined in the Canadian Forces Operations doctrine is: “to defend Canada and Canadian interests and values, while contributing to international peace and security.” The operations conducted in support of this mission include Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Search and Rescue (SAR), Humanitarian and Disaster Relief, and Evacuation of Noncombatant Personnel. A key characteristic of most of these operations is a hazardous, changing and often hostile environment such as battlefields and disaster stricken areas. Route planning in such a context is a crucial element for the successful execution of the operational missions.

This seed project aims at developing and applying operational research (OR), artificial intelligence and geographic information systems (GIS) methods to the area of route planning and evaluation in dynamic and uncertain environments.


Route planning is a complex task and has many applications in the civilian and military worlds. In this project, the team is interested in a mission route planning problem defined as the process of selecting a path for a vehicle to follow through friendly or unfriendly terrain based on multiple constraints and multiple criteria. In particular, they wish to study the near optimal multicriteria multi-stage search path problem for air vehicles searching for objects at unknown locations. Re-planning based on negative information and updating of the distributions of the whereabouts of search objects is an important element of this problem. Once the search object is located, another path planning problem of interest is the multicriteria evaluation of land rescue routes using visibility based terrain analysis in a hazardous environment. The idea for this project emerged from the results of a research contract conducted for project partner Defence R&D Canada (DRDC) - Valcartier to identify R&D needs and directions for mission planning tools. Discussions with Air Force personnel identified the need to take into account uncertainty and factors such as weather, type of terrain, physical feasibility of search pattern, threat levels, desired coverage, risk, survivability considerations, etc.

Project Leader

Irène Abi-Zeid
Département d'Opérations et systèmes de décision
Palasis-Prince building, 2630
Université Laval
Québec  (Québec), Canada
G1K 7P4
Phone : (418) 656-5623
Fax : (418) 656-2624
Email : Irene.Abi-zeid at OSD.ULaval.Ca
Web Site  :

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