Anders Jepsen
Atmospheric exploration
2021

Anders Jepsen

Geophysicist

Sky Guardians: Anders’s Aerial Assault on Landmines

meet anders

Anders Jepsen is an exploration geophysicist with a six-decade career as a field geologist, geophysicist, and businessman. He is an expert using remote sensing to measure air pollution, he has provided geophysical mapping for renewable energy and the environment, he explored new solar power generation technology. Recently, Jepsen is helping to develop airborne drone capabilities, combined with magnetometers, to provide efficient landmine removal and locate unexploded ordnance around the world. His team is presently defining survey procedures and data algorithms for low-cost detection applications.

Sky Guardians: Anders’s Aerial Assault on Landmines
Nominated by: Lee Langan MED'99
Class of 2021 Location California, USA
An unexploded cluster bomb in the field
An unexploded cluster bomb in the field

About 70 countries in the world exhibit the presence of war-related material, landmines, and unexploded ordnances, that have an enormous impact on people’s daily lives. These are commonly detected and removed by slow, inch-by-inch searching and careful digging using treasure-hunter equipment. Landmine removal progress for a team of ten people is only one or two hectares per month at a cost of around $30,000. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of land remain unusable because of landmines.

My colleagues and I are working to extend drone-based geophysics to landmine and ordinance detection and mapping. These will permit inexpensive field measurements conducted close to the ground by local operators using equipment supplied by NGOs. Success of this mapping will enhance the recovery of usable land and will increase the local production of food.

Landmines, UXO, and shrapnel map
Landmines, UXO, and shrapnel map

“My hope for the future is a successful understanding of the use of drone geophysics to improve the quality of life for landmine-afflicted communities.”

- Anders Jepsen

Survey costs and the small size of targets are major obstacles to using commercial airborne geophysics for landmine detection. These obstacles can be overcome by the use of geophysical sensors adapted for programmable drones. What is needed now is the design of survey and data analysis procedures to fit the nature of landmine contamination.

Drones can be programmed to fly a set of closely spaced exploration lines at low altitude. The result is a map that shows the magnitude and location of every piece of magnetically responsive material in the soil. Detailed analyses can identify which are landmines. Acceptance of this technology by the demining community requires testing, demonstration surveys, analysis, calibration, and reporting.

My hope for the future is a successful understanding of the use of drone geophysics to improve the quality of life for landmine-afflicted communities.

A clearance team at work
A clearance team at work
never stop exploring

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