Issue 6.1, April 2002
by J. J. van der Merwe, UNOPS
(page 1 | 2)
Technical Survey as Part of an Integrated Solution
The solution to a country’s mine and associated socio-economic problems is through the provision of a combination of mine action services. The Technical Survey described in this document mainly refers to a step in the demining process; however, while Technical Surveys are being carried out, similar needs assessments should take place to collect information for planning and implementing mine awareness and victim support programs.
In order to prepare an annual workplan, it is suggested that the following approach be taken to ensure that these services are provided in a coordinated and balanced package.
Information to Be Collected During the Technical Survey
The Technical Survey is the primary source of planning information for mine and UXO operations and usually involves gathering specific information, entering the contaminated area and mapping the suspect area. In doing so, the survey process will
Expedite demining activities through the provision of accurate and in-time information on the particular site.
During the Technical Survey, the following information should be collected:
In addition to the information mentioned above, a detailed site sketch must also be prepared, as this will be provided to the demining organization that will eventually carry out the task. The following information should be noted on the sketch of the area:
In order to collect the required information, it will be necessary to enter hazardous areas by breaching exploratory lanes into the suspect area. Once the information has been collected and documented, it should be returned to the Mine Action Center to be included in the mine database. This will assist in the preparation of the annual program and the tasking orders that will be provided to demining organizations. These tasking orders will describe in detail what the demining requirements are (area and depth), which kind of resources and how many of them are best to use and how long they are expected to work on the task to address the impact that was defined during the GMAA process.
Sequence for Carrying Out the Technical Survey
After impacted communities have been ranked in priority order and a selection has been made, the Technical Survey should be carried out to collect sufficient information to enable the demining requirement to be more accurately defined. These demining activities include areas that need to be reduced, cleared and/or marked. Sketch Map 1 (above) shows an example of a village and (4) suspect mined areas within the village boundary. These hazardous areas were identified by interviewing the inhabitants of the village during the National Survey. The identified suspect areas have impact on the villagers or prevent them from living a normal life free from the dangers of mines and UXO.
Sketch Map 2 shows one of the suspect areas and indicates the blockages caused by the presence of mines. The suspect area is blocking access to:
The next step in the process should be to plan, prepare for and execute the Technical Survey. As previously stated, the aim of the survey is "to collect sufficient information to enable the clearance requirement to be more accurately defined and for the subsequent clearance operation to be conducted in a safe, effective and efficient manner."
Using the road and the already defined benchmark as the starting point, one should analyze the blockages caused by the mines, and then propose solutions to address how these blockages can be eliminated through marking, reducing and/or clearing the areas concerned. This initial planning is done before carrying out the Technical Survey, and it is done by analyzing all available information and preparing an initial plan. The survey is then focused on collecting the correct information that would allow such a final plan to be devised. Explanatory breaching lanes into the suspect area should also be planned. The purpose of these lanes is to allow safe access into the suspect area in order to collect specific information that can be used to develop a detailed plan for the site. The number and location of these lanes will depend on the information requirements. There could be a number of solutions to remove the impact in this particular case. One possibility would be to treat the areas as follows:
This pre-planning exercise will focus the members of the Technical Survey team on the information they need to collect in order to confirm the initial plan. To support the identified planning requirements, lanes would have to be breached into the suspect area. To collect the information identified above, one could establish lanes as shown in Sketch Map 3.
The information collected through the survey will either confirm the preliminary plan or indicate that the plan needs to be amended.
After the survey has been completed and the information has been entered into the mine information database, a final plan should be developed for this particular site. The same process has to be carried out for each one of the six other identified suspect areas. These areas could eventually become one cluster, and resources should be shared and moved among the six different sites to prepare the ground, reduce the suspect area and/or clear and mark contaminated areas. Caption: Establishing lanes to collect information on a suspect area.
As a result of analyzing the information collected though the Technical Survey, a plan to manage the mine problem is developed. The main focus of the plan is to address the impact of the mines and UXO on the community where they are found. One of many solutions is shown graphically in Sketch Map 4. The plan should ensure that the whole area identified in the GMAA process is taken care of and as a result is accounted for.
In the absence of effective new technologies, better resource allocation can reduce demining costs and increase the rate of land release and clearance. Technical Surveys will provide the planners of demining activities with crucial information to plan area reduction, clearance and marking activities. It will also ensure that the resources on a particular site are used with the highest efficiency and that these resources are targeted to provide the identified relief. Finally, the Technical Survey will provide the necessary milestones to estimate and later gauge the progress of operational activities.
J. J. van der Merwe