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Planning, assistance and research activities for demining, based on images from the satellite (PARADIS)

Research project T4/DD/60 (Research action T4)

Persons :

  • M.  ACHEROY Marc - Royal Military Academy of Belgium ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/6/1999-31/5/2001

Description :


We propose to develop, from the tools available in the various laboratories of the network, a computer aided system for the planning of humanitarian mine clearance campaigns. The developed product will contain the two complementary levels (global and local) corresponding to information needs at two different spatial scales. The system will integrate different modules : a database in a geographical information system (GIS), a toolbox of classifiers, a toolbox of object detectors and a graphical user interface (GUI).

At the global level corresponding to a country or a large region, the system will allow to manage, centralise, and enrich the existing geographical information in order to plan the mine clearance operations according to the established priorities. At the local level, it will provide the information the field-workers require. This information, available from a GIS and a GUI, will allow to respectively define the areas to be cleared from mines first and to analyse the areas of interest in order to intervene.


A user-friendly C.S will be used to centralise existing geographical databases, scanned maps, delimitation of mined/cleared areas and any other piece of georeferenced information about mine clearance. Indeed, small-scale topographical data exist in digital format and can be augmented by scanned maps. Pieces of information concerning population density, refugee localisation or cultivated areas are also useful. At this global scale, the user vill be able to determine the areas to be cleared first. The priorities of mine clearance operations are typically the following : reintegrate populations of refugees, clear arable fields, maintain the security in and around the villages and schools, and finally restore communication routes.

Once the areas to be cleared are chosen, a detection module is activated at the local scale (1:25000) in order to extract, from the high or very high resolution satellite images, new or interesting information for mine clearance. The user will make use of automatic or semi-automatic tools in order to obtain this information, that is, the localization and status of the communication routes (tracks, roads, railways, waterways), the precise localisation and extent of villages, the location of arable cleared areas and more generally the ground use. Moreover, these tools will allow the user to refine the delimitation of the areas to be cleared, to find objects of interest and to prepare a dedicated and updated map.

The database will initially contain satellite images, aerial pictures, scanned maps and additional information about the related areas (comments, images and vectors). It will be continuously enriched with data provided by the user such as graphical representations of mined as well as information derived by the system, with or without the user, such as a road extracted from a scanned map or from a satellite image. The classifier toolbox will help segmenting images in classes of interest. The toolbox of object detectors will be used to automatically or semi-automatically detect objects significant for the mine clearance personnel : roads, housing, mined or non-mined area indicators. Although most of these tools are developed for satellite or aerial images, some of them, such as road detectors, can be applied to scanned maps.

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