Deploying Low Cost, Small Unmanned Aerial Systems in Humanitarian Mine Action

John S Fardoulis, Dave Smith, Oliver Payton, Tom Scott, Jim Freer, John Day

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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Small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS’s), which are made up of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or ‘drone’), a payload, ground control system, live video feed and other peripherals, can provide great utility in humanitarian mine action (HMA). Uses include: site overviews for pre-deployment planning and progress reporting during clearance operations; up-to-date, high resolution situational information and reconnaissance; evidence gathering as part of the non-technical survey (NTS) process; and real time video feeds during explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) & improvised explosive device (IED) operations. sUAS’s can help improve safety, increase productivity, make reporting more transparent, and provide better quality information to aid decision making during the land release process. This paper presents sample data outputs from low cost, off-the-shelf mini sUAS’s, ranging from overhead snapshots, through to high resolution cartography and detailed GIS information. Tests were conducted using both standard imaging and GIS capabilities, plus near-infrared modified cameras that show better vegetation contrast. These results can be achieved using readily available commercial sUAS’s with a take-off weight of less than 2kg. Even though a number of past sUAS research projects have been undertaken in the HMA sector, the next step is addressing deployment challenges. Requirements such as creating standard operating procedures (SOP’s), developing training programs, gaining permission to operate from national authorities, and investment in the infrastructure required to support each sUAS programme are addressed. The popularity of UAV’s as a consumer electronics device means that millions of units are now being sold each year. However, there has only been limited deployment on a routine basis, without integration into standard HMA operations. The issues limiting the application of sUAS’s will be addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 14th International Symposium “MINE ACTION 2017”
EditorsAnte Brkljačić, Sanja Vakula
PublisherGovernment of the Republic of Croatia - Office for Mine Action
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2017
EventThe 14th International Symposium “MINE ACTION 2017” -
Duration: 25 Apr 201727 Apr 2017

Publication series

NameBook of Papers (International symposium “Mine Action”)
ISSN (Print)1849-3718


ConferenceThe 14th International Symposium “MINE ACTION 2017”


  • UAS
  • UAV
  • RPAS
  • drone
  • remote sensing
  • photogrammetry
  • aerial survey
  • mapping
  • GIS
  • EOD
  • IED
  • humanitarian mine action


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