Field Land Operations

Virtually no technologies have proven yet to replace placing feet on the ground (or coral, volcanic or mangrove jungles).

GPS devices with very sensitive antenna technologies (we use Garmin devices) and the capacity to store many, many waypoints has probably been the single most important device in extending our field work.

 

Google Earth has facilitated our ability to overlay way points both on water and land, which has facilitated our abilities to rapidly map and display large and complex debris fields.

Camera technologies have greatly improved our documentation capabilities in several areas, including improved sensitivity, compactness and waterproof platforms (e.g., GoPro being an example of a very fieldable device).

 

Computer technologies have also permitted more rapid reviews, reporting and data storage/management. Internet access in Palau, while with limited bandwidth, has allowed the team to communicate real time with stateside team mates and other interested parties.

For searches, metal detectors have improved in sensitivity (due to the military need to detect non-metallic land mines with very small amounts of metal) and portability and are proving useful when looking over wide areas for hidden debris, as well as for finding burial sites which may contain small amounts of metal. Unmanned and even autonomous aerial vehicles are showing some promise especially in searches over mangrove swamps but more development time will be needed.

 

The BentProp Project is investigating a number of other potentially fieldable technologies to extend its search capabilities.

Overall, we now travel in jungles a bit lighter with better documentation gear, but drinking water still weighs the same. We are not in any fear of novel detection technologies decreasing our need to stay in excellent physical shape for our land searches. And nothing is ever likely to replace a guide who knows the area we are searching.