Landmine Detection



Landmine and Target Detection: Seeing Through the Trickery

Landmine Detection Research Leads to

Hyperspectral Innovations

Over 18 years of landmine detection collaboration with the Threat Detection Group of Defence R&D Canada (DRDC) has led to significant hyperspectral imaging developments at ITRES. These include the development of the hyperspectral SASI (Shortwave Airborne Spectrographic Imager) and the world’s first airborne hyperspectral thermal mapper, the TASI. Both spectrums bring additional discriminatory power for identifying surfaces in urban environments based on material, paint, plastics, skin, or temperature.

Other developments seen over the years included the development of a real-time mine detection system using VNIR wavelengths measured by the CASI (Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager) with the initial proof of concept tests successfully conducted in 2000. A commercial offshoot of this work saw the 2005 release of the Real-Time Processing System (RTPS) that enabled radiometric correction and data backup during flight. The next stage in the evolution of this capability will result in the coming commercial release of ITRES’ In-flight Processing System (IPSTM), which will permit hyperspectral and thermal geocorrection and orthocorrection in near real-time, another industry first from ITRES. Mosaicked results are seen on-screen by the system operator along with GPS coordinates and our long-established sensor health diagnostics and alerts. The IPS will allow faster access to processed data, for applications where time is of the essence and fast access to processed data is needed, such as for emergency response or precision agricultural applications. The modular approach of this system will also enable certain types of automated analyses routines to be performed during flight.

Examples of Target Detection Capability

Using the SASI
The images seen below were part of a successful investigation into the use of SWIR wavelengths to quickly identify such disparate materials as acrylics, nylon, plastics, paints, and human skin. To this end, two persons were imaged alongside an assemblage of landmines, surrogates, and unexploded ordnance (seen along the right side of the images).

Some items of note:

SASI_imaging_nylon SASI_imaging_skin

  • Both persons are wearing clothing featuring varying acrylic and nylon materials. In the SWIR wavelengths displayed in the image on the left, the higher the concentrations of these materials, the brighter these surfaces appear. Also note the mines along the right side of the image
  • The image on the right shows enhanced spectral reflectivity for human skin (bright in the imagery). Note how the reflectivities are equal between the two persons, even though their skin pigmentations differ visually


  • In the image above, both persons are wearing plastic-lensed glasses; note how the lenses worn by the person on the left are identified (appear bright in this image), while those of the person on the right are not (both pairs of glasses appear the same to the naked eye).

Detection Summary

  • Surface-Laid Landmine &
  • Target Detection
  • Custom Physics-Based Pattern & Spectral Classification Algorithms
  • Real-Time Mine Detection & Processing System
  • Hyperspectral geocorrection and orthocorrection coming soon with the In-flight Processing System (IPS™)