Blue Line

The RCMP trials using satellite and hyperspectral aerial imaging to locate remains of missing persons

May 9, 2022  By Blue Line Staff

May 5, 2022, Ottawa, Ont. – The RCMP’s National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) is undertaking a Missing Persons Advanced Technology initiative, which uses advancements in satellite and hyperspectral imaging technologies to detect places where human remains, linked to missing person cases, may be partially or shallowly buried or discarded.

This is the first time that the RCMP is using hyperspectral imaging technologies in an attempt to locate human remains. Hyperspectral imaging collects and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum from reflected sunlight, capturing information beyond what is visible to the human eye. As proven in past controlled experiments in partnership with the National Research Council Canada, this technology has the potential to better detect characteristics of decomposing bodies and shallow graves based on their affect on the vegetation, soil composition, and other effects, in contrast to the surrounding area.

The pilot began the week of May 2, with an aircraft covering two sites in British Columbia.

In missing person cases, collaboration is key. This initiative has been made possible with the support and collaboration of partners including academia, the National Research Council Canada, Agriculture Canada, and ITRES Research Ltd, who are providing their expertise, available technology and support.

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