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Where Technology and Field Information Meet: The Metal Detector Handbook

by Dieter Guelle, Andy Smith, Adam Lewis and Thomas Bloodworth

The Metal Detector Handbook for Humanitarian Demining explains what all operators need to know about modern metal detectors. If trying to test, select or simply use a detector to its optimal ability, this handbook will show the user exactly what is needed. The handbook is in pocket A5 format and is resistant to field use.

For those in the field, there is a short, separate index that points to those checks and adjustments that are critical for effective front-line work. Andy Smith claims to know that most demining groups do not use their detectors optimally, and there is a lot of evidence in the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining/United Nations Mine Action Service (GIHCD/UNMAS) Database of Demining Accidents to support that view.

For those selecting which detector to buy, there are whole sections that help to pre-select suitable models and then carry out meaningful field trials. For those wanting to understand the basic principles behind the available models, there is a dedicated technical chapter including clear explanations of how the various metal detector technologies work. The advantages and disadvantages of different technologies and designs are discussed at length throughout the handbook.

This informational handbook was written because the authors believe that it is needed by field operators. The European Commission Joint Research Centre helped with the technical aspects and publication, but the main authors were unpaid. They feel that this knowledge needs to be shared with the demining community. Their approach is unique in humanitarian demining publications, merging technical information and end-user concerns into a book that is intended to be easy to read whatever your background.

Initial feedback of this project has been positive from the field users who know about the handbook and who were included in the first distribution list. There are requests for translation into four languages and the printing of 4000 more copies. For three of these languages (Russian, Azeri and a language commonly understandable in the area of South East Europe), an amount of $20,000 (U.S.) will be needed. Portuguese is the other language requested, but a price quote has not been received. If a reader would like to help those national Mine Action Centers requesting the translation, and therefore contributing to greater safety in mine clearance, please contact us.

The PDF version of the handbook is for free downloading available on the James Madison University Mine Action Information Center website at or on the International Test and Evaluation Program for Humanitarian Demining (ITEP) website at A limited number of copies were printed, and these are available on request. To get your free copy of the book, contact:

Marta Garotta
Enrico Fermi 1
JRC T.P. 723
IT-21020 Ispra (VA)
Tel.: +39 0332 785546
Fax: +39 0332 785772

Contact Information

Dieter Guelle
Tel.: +39 0332 78557676
Fax: +39 0332 785772

Andy Smith
Tel: +44 1600 713727
Fax: +44 1600 719993