Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Does Your UXO Specialist Know What They Are Looking At?

Many UXO specialists are undertaking UXO risk assessments using aerial photographs that have had evidence of military activity removed!

The purchase of a good set of historical aerial photographs seems to be anathema to some UXO specialists when undertaking a risk assessment for a site.

Many simply take a look at Google Earth’s historical images, oblivious to the fact that any military activity has probably been censored and that the dates are probably inaccurate!

As discussed further in ZeticaUXO’s new discussion paper on best practice for UXO risk assessments, the failure of UXO specialists to gain a corroborative set of historical aerial photographs could mean that past military activity is overlooked and that the potential for a UXO hazard to be present not identified, potentially putting those on site at risk.

For years now, many UXO specialists have misused Google Earth’s historical imagery.  This is not a criticism of Google Earth, which makes no claims about the comprehensiveness of its historical imagery.  Rather, it is a criticism of UXO specialists that clearly do not understand the nature of the source of information at hand, and make no attempt to verify records through corroboration from multiple sources.

To demonstrate this, the plate below shows two aerial images of an RAF station dating from 1945. On the left is the photograph from a specialist archive, on the right is the Google Earth 1945 aerial photograph of exactly the same location.


Need we say more?

This is just one of several subjects tackled in our discussion paper, the whole text of which can be downloaded here.