GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 24-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


RYAN, Lydia1, KREKELER, Mark P.S.1, BURKE, Michelle2 and SPARKS, Joseph1, (1)Geology & Environmental Earth Sciences, Miami University Hamilton, Hamilton, OH 45011, (2)Dept. of Geology and Environmental Earth Sciences, Miami University, Shideler Hall, 250 S. Patterson Ave, Oxford, OH 45056

Locating lost or missing persons in any situation, whether they are lost hikers or persons displaced by natural disasters, is difficult. Missing persons have a limited amount of time, in most cases, to be found before conditions become life threatening. In addition, search and rescue missions are often labor intensive and costly. Thus, the need to develop new, more efficient and cost effective methods for locating lost or missing persons in a variety of environments is critical. A spectral reflectance database would allow for more efficient recovery of people using hyperspectral remote sensing. It is imperative to be able to distinguish people from animals and other objects in the surrounding environment, such as vegetation and soil. Reflectance spectra were collected for 20 clothing items, 26 taxidermy animal specimens (including a Kodiak bear, a black bear, and coyote), and 22 animal bones (e.g., femur, tibia, humerus) using an ASD FieldSpec 4 for wavelengths ranging from 350-2500 nm. The absorption features of the data were diverse but similar to previous results where analogs could be found in the literature or existing data. Reflectance of the tibias, femurs, humerus, and metacarpals displayed an initial increase between 400 nm and 1000 nm and then several notable absorption features in short wave infrared (SWIR) wavelengths. The reflectance of the bears displayed an increase in reflectivity between 1000 nm and 2000 nm and absorption features in the SWIR that are distinguishable from other materials in this study. Fur and human hair have similar features but some animal fur likely may be distinguished from human hair based on the slope of spectra in the Vis-NIR regions. Overall animal materials should be generally distinguishable from geologic materials. In addition this project shows that there is potential for use of hyperspectral remote sensing to investigate large mammal populations such as bears in complex terrain and based on the nature of spectra of fur and feather it may be possible to monitor smaller mammals and large birds of ecological interest in several geologic environments. Detection would likely be easiest, in decreasing order, in deserts, grasslands, wetlands, and forests. Collective data in this investigation supports a database to aid in the search and rescue of missing persons.