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Murderous mines no match for aerial mapping

Monday, May 23, 2011 - 02:07

May 23 - An Israeli company says it's using aerial photography to significantly improve the result of mapping minefields. The company says their method is faster and safer than the current method and could save lives. Lianne Gross reports.

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There are almost two million land mines spread around the world, killing some 1,500 people every year. Now, an Israeli company offers a new method to map those perilous minefields faster and safer than ever before. Geomine uses a special camera loaded on a plane to map landmines and unexploded ordinance from the air. The multi-spectral camera can detect explosives that naturally bleed into their surrounding soil and vegetation, explained Geomine's founder Avi Buzaglo-Yoresh. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AVI BUZAGLO-YORESH, GEOMINE SAYING: "Each material on the nature have its own signature and what we look for is for the signature that the mine leave on the ground." Geomine combines the aerial photographs with satellite images and analyses the findings to map out danger zones. This way it can reduce suspected areas by 95 percent, to ease the time, and money consuming task of mine clearing. It would take more than 1,100 years at a cost of $33 billion to clear the planet of mines, estimated Christopher Clarke, United Nations Chief advisor for mine clearing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRISTOPHER CLARK, UNITED NATIONS MINE ACTION SERVICE, SAYING: "We are always looking, increasingly so now, for ways of improving the way that we plan and do business on the ground in the context of clearing landmines, and Geomine's process could well assist that." Israel's military in responsible for about 2 million mines spread across some 200 square kilometres. Colonel Eran Pauker, commander of the Engineering Corps in Israel's Northern Command, had tested Geomine's system and said it could make his work more efficient. (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) COLONEL ERAN PAUKER, ISRAEL ENGINEERING CORPS SAYING: "In trials until now it indeed focused us and brought us to the areas (with mines), saving manpower and resources." Buzaglo-Yoresh said the system did not make a single mistake in trials, but it is for the civilian populations in war zones to the ultimate judges of Geomine's system. Lianne Gross, Reuters

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Murderous mines no match for aerial mapping

Monday, May 23, 2011 - 02:07