Improved Reliability and Usability of the MetalMapper System
Bart Hoekstra | Geometrics, Inc.
The primary objective of this project is to take the proven capabilities of the MetalMapper system and use the lessons learned from the multiple MetalMapper demonstrations to improve the field readiness of the system. This will enable the technology to be deployed by a wider range of personnel in more situations. This will require improvements in several areas including system electronics weight and size, durability, and software. Achieving these improvements will allow the wider deployment of the system by increasing the flexibility of the deployment options and decrease the knowledge level required of the operators. An additional objective will be to modularize the electronics so that a wider range of transmitter and receiver antenna configurations can be used with the same basic electronics package. This will further widen the range of potential uses of the MetalMapper technology.
The technology being designed and demonstrated is an improvement of the Geometrics MetalMapper system, which has been well described, validated, and demonstrated through several SERDP and ESTCP projects. Demonstrations of the system in the past two years have shown the system can be deployed and the data interpreted by personnel employed by companies that are involved in unexploded ordnance (UXO) contracting and not only research personnel. The success of the MetalMapper in these situations has increased the interest in this technology. Significantly, the first use of a MetalMapper in a non-demonstration UXO remediation project is underway. In order to broaden the situations in which the MetalMapper can be deployed, there are several improvements in the current instrumentation that are needed. They include:
- Reducing the size and weight of the MetalMapper electronics as well as the power required to operate the system. The reduction in power requirements is expected to have a major impact on the total weight required to be carried by the operator by reducing the amount of battery power needed.
- Making the system more rugged by using different materials for the transmitter and receiver antennae and using a more rugged and water resistant enclosure for the electronics.
- Simplifying the software interface to remove features no longer needed in a production system. The current software was designed to be used in prototype systems and therefore has a lot of flexibility that is no longer required in production oriented systems that have well established acquisition parameters. Other changes to the software will include better information to the operator in order to improve positioning of the array above the metallic items.
The expected Department of Defense (DoD) benefit is a broadening of the potential applications of the MetalMapper classification technology. The demonstrations have proven that the significant reduction in the number of items intrusively investigated while still finding all the targets of interest can be done by personnel employed by UXO remediation companies. Potential cost savings to the DoD when remediating UXO sites could be on the order of 50%. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2014)