Friday, November 6, 2009

Remote sensing at Parc Safari

<- Parc's animal cemetery as seen from space (among clearing and trees on the left).

Over the summer, a McGill geography professor flew over Parc Safari taking photos that would hopefully be useful in her research on locating clandestine graves from afar. Parc Safari's cemetery, without complete records of where and when animals were buried, provides excellent potential for testing the accuracy of predictions based on aerial images. This is a new aspect of the Parc Safari project with archaeology students confirming or contradicting the predictions of where graves are located. In future seasons, students will be more involved in this project. Our group was only introduced to this aspect of the Parc Safari dig this season.

One day at the site, geography student Carrie and a professor took away a few mysterious bags of soil. They spoke about methane analysis and decomposition of animals (taphonomy). Around the cemetery, several methane collars collect valuable information for the remote sensing project. Combining field data and image information is not only useful for us in that we'll be able to know where animals are buried at Parc Safari but will also be useful in providing evidence of mass human rights abuses around the world.

Each week, many of us ride to the Parc in a van lent by the Geography department. Both departments are working closely on the project that could go in so many different directions. Options for future work are many and mutli-disciplinary. Keep the wheels rolling.

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