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Successful Initial Minefield Trials for SEMIS Project

The last six months have been a busy time in this project that aims to tackle the problem of metallic clutter during demining operations through combining metal characterisation (MC) and ground penetrating radar (GPR) to provide the best electromagnetic information.

Two experimental systems (MC and GPR) were successfully tested for the first time in field conditions in April 2015 at the Croatian Mine Action Center (CMAC) in Benkovac, Croatia.

We are pleased that these initial tests produced a number of positive results and important findings that will aid improvements and further project progress. All the equipment used in the tests was easily transported and deployed, fully functional and useful data was acquired from buried targets. A real positive of the trials was that the SEMIS Metal Detector system was able to locate larger items with no problem, even in uncooperative soil. Additionally there was progress with the portable GPR system where a number of different antenna types have been designed, tested and modelled.

Importantly the findings from the tests have helped the team see where improvements can be made with the metal characterisation system regarding sensitivity, signal to noise ratios and dynamic range for smaller anti-personnel mines, and additionally with pulse duration for GPR. These improvements will be the focus for The University of Manchester team over the next stage of the project, alongside the team working on integrating both systems onto one platform and considering how the user will interact with the system.

The results of these first field trials are very encouraging and the team are planning to take improved equipment to tests again in September 2015 where we hope they will continue to make excellent progress.

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