Mississippi Geospatial Companies Collaborate on Sensor and Software System to Detect Tunnels
Bay Saint Louis, Ms – According to Time Magazine, since 2001, more than 100 tunnels on the Mexican border have been discovered by U.S. law enforcement, compared with just 15 in the 1990s, and the pace is accelerating. But now there is new technology that promises to locate drug smugglers and terrorists in underground tunnels and caves where they hide. The INSITE VI (IS6) system is the result of a partnership among three U.S. companies. AeroTec LLC, NVision Solutions, Inc., and EnTech Engineering Inc., are jointly marketing the system to the U.S. government and the utilities industry.
The system uses a helicopter fitted with a sensor able to detect subtle changes in terrain and ground temperature originating under the earth’s surface. Specialized software processes this information to highlight locations of underground targets such as tunnels.
Using this technology, trained experts can fly over an area and "see" up to 80 feet deep into the earth to find caves, tunnels, pipes, and even leaks in levees not visible from the ground.
In 2006, a live test was conducted for officials from several U.S. agencies. The test required locating six known tunnels from the air originally found through informants on the ground. The subterranean IS6 map revealed nine tunnels including three yet undiscovered smuggling routes into California.
This year, the IS6 team performed another test along the London Canal in New Orleans, Louisiana, uncovering a stretch of levee with significant water seepage through tiny faults foreshadowing future breeches or collapse.
The specialized software helps the IS6 team locate areas to fly by analyzing above ground geography for key elements needed by criminals working underground. For example, drug cartels building tunnels under U.S. borders need buildings on both sides to cover entry and exit into the U.S. Insurgents using caves in Afghanistan or Pakistan need geographic features such as water sources and travel routes near hideouts.
"This technology is an exciting development in our nation’s defense capability; America’s enemies can run, but now it will be a lot harder to hide," said Craig Harvey, Chief Operating Officer of NVision Solutions.
Aerotec, LLC is a value-added services company that uses state-of-the-art airborne remote sensing (data capture) and data analysis technologies to provide topographic maps and models to its customers throughout North America. Aerotec’s primary technologies include Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR/laser-scan), digital photography, proprietary and commercial (off-the-shelf) software, and specialized engineering analysis packages. For more information about AeroTec, an active member of Mississippi’s geospatial industry cluster, visit www.aerotecusa.com.
NVision Solutions, Inc. is a small, disadvantaged, minority, woman-owned certified 8(a) firm specializing in mission-critical, high-tech, GIS-based decision support systems and services. NVision, an active member of Mississippi’s geospatial industry cluster, is headquartered in south Mississippi. For more information about NVision Solutions, Inc., visit www.NVisionSolutions.com.
EnTechr Engineering has more than 25 years experience of Remote Sensing and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) projects. In addition to holding ten U.S. and International patents, EnTechr Engineering has invested over a million dollars in state-of-the-art Infrared Ground Penetrating Microwave Radar, Low Light Level Video and related scientific instrumentation. EnTechr Engineering is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information, visit www.entechworld.com.
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