DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - Mineseeker Operations , the BVI-based land mine detection company with offices in Durban,, has released images of suspected land mines buried beneath the surface. These images have been incorporated into a brief video presentation, a link to which has been provided at the conclusion of this update.
Mineseeker deployed the technology in Croatia in late 2010 for an industry demonstration and has, for the first time, released a sample of processed data that clearly shows remarkable images of subsurface objects.
View the Video here : youtu.be/AJbf8LTvhgc
The technology uses ground penetrating synthetic aperture radar (GPSAR) to detect suspicious objects beneath the surface and then fuses that technology with a photo-mosaic image to precisely map the location of buried objects for use by teams of land mine removal technicians who clear the terrain.
Using this breakthrough technology will dramatically reduce the cost and time it takes to clear minefields. Using painstaking traditional techniques, clearing a single square mile requires thousands of man-hours at a cost of several million dollars and involves considerable risk to the lives of the clearance teams.
Mineseeker's technology is not only safer and faster, but it comes at a fraction of the cost: all of which means that huge tracts of former war-zone land can now be cost-effectively cleared, re-inhabited and put back to work.
The Mineseeker product is developed from data captured by multiple sensors flown on-board a Robinson 44 helicopter, which can survey as much as five square kilometres per day of terrain designated as "land-mined."
Land mines represent a massive, man-made disaster in post conflict areas that kill or maim civilians every day in over 70 countries. Mines also have a devastating effect on the economy of the countries affected as those areas designated as "land-mined" cannot be used commercially, residentially or for the production of food crops.
The United Nations estimates that there are as many as 100 million landmines buried beneath the surface of the earth and as much as 500 thousand square miles of land is affected. Someone -- usually a woman or child -- steps on a landmine every 19 minutes, crippling, maiming or killing these innocent victims.
It is estimated that, without new technology, it would take 500 years to rid the planet of existing land mines at a cost of $50 billion. The biggest piece of that cost is the laborious task of searching for the buried objects. Using a crude hand-held prodder, a single mine operative can clear only 400 square feet per day. As a result clearing one square mile of land can cost at least $1.5 million. In fact The Land Monitor organisation stated that in 2010, $637 million was spent on clearing just 77 square miles -- an astonishing $8 million per square mile!
Ironically, estimates are that 95% of the land searched by land mine operatives does not actually contain mines, however until this is verified just the threat of their presence is enough to prohibit use of the land.
Mineseeker will be able to survey the land at a rate of up to 2 square miles per day at a fraction of the cost and time it takes for traditional landmine clearance. The method employed is to survey the land, locate and ring fence the minefields and immediately release uncontaminated land back to the community for productive use. Once a minefield is located, Mineseeker will produce multi-layer maps, showing the location of the mines so that clearance companies can remove them quickly and safely.
The Mineseeker project began 10 years ago with the formation of the Mineseeker Foundation. It tested the ground penetrating synthetic aperture radar (GPSAR) in Kosovo. However the equipment was heavy and had to be carried on an airship (Blimp) which was a vibration free platform. The cost was prohibitive, so Mineseeker formed a for-profit arm to raise finance in order to fund the deployment of a miniaturized system which now forms part of the company's multi-spectral imaging radar (MIR™).
The Mineseeker Foundation (www.mineseeker.org), whose founding Patron was Nelson Mandela, is now focussed exclusively on providing land mine victim assistance.
The video presentation detailing the images and sample results from the Croatia trial can be found at: youtu.be/AJbf8LTvhgc