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Sep 22 2014

Using Ultra High Sensitivity Magnetometers to combat Poaching

The group that oversees anti-rhino poaching operations along the western front of the Kruger National Park in South Africa has been looking for a means to improve the detection of armed insurgents. Infra-red sensing has limitations in day-time, due to high ambient temperatures and lack of penetration through vegetation cover. The area is vast (2,000 sq. km’s) but airborne investigations are only launched once there is some information as to the whereabouts of insurgents. Tree and bush cover is dense, and poachers can easily avoid visual detection from the air by taking cover.

An item as small as rifle will generate a small anomalous magnetic response. Small responses can be detected by an ultra sensitive magnetometers, however, even an ultra sensitive magnetometer sensor needs to be within metres of the object, in order to “see” the object.

The solution to the problem of detecting armed poachers under cover is to install an ultra sensitive magnetometer like GEM Systems’ UAV magnetometer sensor that can stream data in real time, on an autonomous vehicle that can fly safely at low altitudes. That is exactly the solution that is being considered for this very unique application of using magnetic mapping technology to combat the ever present problem of poaching.

Group Of White Rhino

Group of white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) drinking from a waterhole, Kruger National Park, South Africa. © Scotch Macaskill

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