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Proceedings Paper

Optical detection of buried explosive hazards: a longitudinal comparison of three types of imagery
Author(s): James J. Staszewski; Charles H. Hibbitts; Luke Davis; James Bursley
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Paper Abstract

Visual detection of soil disturbances is a surprisingly effective, but far from perfect way of detecting buried explosive threats such as landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This effort builds upon the few systematic studies of optical detection in this area. It investigates observer sensitivity to optical information produced by the burial of anti-tank and small anti-personnel landmines asking “How detectable are disturbed soil signatures captured in visible (VIS), shortwave infrared (SWIR), and thermal infrared (TIR), bands?” “Which band or bands are most effective for detection?” and “How well does each band support detection in the natural environment over time?” Using signal detection procedures this study presented young adults photographs showing soil disturbed by landmine burial or adjacent undisturbed surfaces with instructions to make decisions about the presence or absence of a disturbance. Stimuli spanned a six-week time period over which VIS, SWIR, and TIR imagery was collected. Results show that (a) signal strength persists surprisingly well over the observation period, (b) generally, SWIR and VIS show consistently strong performance for large anti-tank mines and SWIR shows the soil signature for the small, anti-personnel mine remarkably well. TIR lags the other two bands when using d’ to measure performance, but shows promising hit rates for anti-tank mine signatures under appropriate conditions. Generally, results show that the SWIR and VIS bands show most promise as a practical means of explosive hazards detection, although TIR can work effectively for large anti-tank mines under certain conditions. Limitations and implications for further research are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 June 2013
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 8709, Detection and Sensing of Mines, Explosive Objects, and Obscured Targets XVIII, 870915 (7 June 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2018092
Show Author Affiliations
James J. Staszewski, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)
Charles H. Hibbitts, Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Luke Davis, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)
James Bursley, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8709:
Detection and Sensing of Mines, Explosive Objects, and Obscured Targets XVIII
J. Thomas Broach; Jason C. Isaacs, Editor(s)

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