This is the beginnings of my User Talk page.
My primary interest in xastir is its utility in search and rescue.
Obviously, APRS is useful for tracking resources, both those with APRS trackers and those whose locations are entered manually.
APRS can be used as a base camp tactical communication tool, integrating multiple ICS sections through either packet radio or a small wireless LAN. I am exploring how to do this in an effective, simple manner.
The DF capabilities of APRS stations, perhaps augmented with the computation of position fixes (e.g. along the lines of Stansfield's statistical theory, with more modern updates), are underutilized in my opinion. I'd like to see some improvements in the usability of APRS for such searches. I am currently working on a library of DF fix computation tools. With only a few minutes at a time to work on it, it's going slowly.
Integration of APRS and professional quality GIS tools would give SAR management a better ability to produce mission-appropriate maps for field use. This is an area where APRS is sorely lacking.
The widespread use of unprojected map coordinates (and maps distorted to be used in those coordinates) makes production of usable field maps problematic. APRS mapping is highly optimized for convenience of programming and useful on-screen display, but printed maps made from APRS displays are largely useless to field teams --- only conformal projections are generally useful to search teams, because only conformal coordinate systems preserve the essential property that an angle drawn on the map corresponds to an angle drawn in the real world.
I would like to see development of better tools for integration of APRS data sources into GIS tools, since the latter type of tool is much better suited to production of high quality maps in appropriate projections.