Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Smart Way To Detect Landmines

April 28, 1998
CSIRO Australia
Low flying unmanned aircraft may one day be able to detect underground landmines, using methods developed by Australian scientists

Low flying unmanned aircraft may one day be able to detect underground landmines, using methods developed by Australian scientists.

The scenario may seem far-fetched, but DSTO researchers, with assistance from CSIRO, are working to provide the Australian Defence Forces with a "rapid route clearance system" which would help to locate and deactivate landmines quickly and relatively safely.

According to the International Red Cross, at the current rate it will take 1,100 years to clear the world’s 119 million active buried landmines, while more than 60 people are killed or maimed by landmines daily.

Anti-personnel mines contain little, if any, metal and are therefore difficult to find using traditional detection techniques based on metal detection. While aerial applications may still be years away, scientists believe they are closer to being able to develop a new landmine detection technique using thermal imagery.

Computational mathematician Tony Miller from CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences is working with DSTO Land Operations Branch scientists Bob Seymour and Bruno Russo on the research project. CSIRO is providing mathematical and computational modelling skills to support the DSTO-conducted experiments.

"Working on this project is personally satisfying as I can apply my skills to something which may, in some small way, help reduce injuries from landmines," says Miller.

Miller says the physical basis for the modelling is simple: "Buried objects give rise to local disturbances in the ground surface temperature because they'll usually have different thermal properties from the surrounding soil. If this 'thermal footprint' of the object can be reliably detected (using, for example, thermal infra-red imagery), it will provide an indication of where a mine might be buried."

Thermal detection methods have the potential for so-called "stand-off" detection, as they would allow troops or peacekeepers to make quick, in-the-field assessments of a minefield from a relatively safe distance.

"But there's unlikely to be a single, 'magic' detection technique which works in all situations," says Miller, "so a number of technologies will be required and it's important to know the strengths and limitations of each technique."

The model developed by CSIRO allows predictions to be made about the effect on the "thermal footprint" of factors such as the mine type, the depth at which it is buried, and environmental factors such as soil type and local climatic conditions.

The model, confirmed by DSTO experiments, accurately predicts that a "hot spot" appears above a buried landmine during the day while a "cold spot" appears at night - the opposite temperature pattern, conveniently, to that of other buried objects such as rocks and metal fragments which could otherwise confuse detection.

Such mathematical modelling helps DSTO fine-tune its experiments and obtain theoretical indications of the effect of various factors which may influence the reliability of the detection method. The project is part of wider DSTO-CSIRO activities aimed at improving landmine detection.

"Even though much still needs to be done before a practical and reliable technology will be available for in-the-field use, " says Miller, "the work so far has been a worthwhile example of how CSIRO and DSTO can work together."

More information:

Dr Tony Miller
Phone: (08) 8303 8770 (w)
CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences

Dr Bob Seymour
Phone: 0419 810 164 (mobile)
(08) 8259 6563 (w)
Head of System Concepts
Land Operations Division, DSTO

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "A Smart Way To Detect Landmines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980428034004.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (1998, April 28). A Smart Way To Detect Landmines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980428034004.htm
CSIRO Australia. "A Smart Way To Detect Landmines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980428034004.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This

More Science News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins