Editorial, Vol 26.1

Editorial and Open Letter to Plinio Dogarí Majoré

German Y. Ojeda.

Plinio Dogarí Majoré is a 13-year-old indigenous boy from the Embera Eyabida tribe in northwestern Colombia.  On February 28th, 2021, Plinio was walking alongside his school teacher not far from his home (an area reportedly disputed by a leftist guerrilla group and a drug-trafficking cartel), when he accidentally stepped on a concealed anti-personnel landmine, instantaneously suffering great trauma and losing his right leg.  Plinio is recovering at a regional hospital, but his life will never be the same.

Volume 26 Number 1 “UXO Geophysics and SAGEEP 2021” represents the beginning of my tenure as FastTIMES Editor-In-Chief.  I would like to start this message by thanking our president Barry Allred and all those at EEGS who chose me to be at the helm of this important publication.  I would also like to extend my gratitude to Geoff Pettifer – my immediate predecessor- for taking the time to teach me the ins and outs of the Editor’s role over many selfless hours of virtual mentoring.  I have begged Geoff to remain as close to me as possible for as long as he possibly can.  He has courteously agreed to stay on board in the dual role of Associate Editor and Co-Chair of our Intersociety Committee.  Geoff will assist with sourcing technical content for Special issues and Regular Columns, with helping to solicit opinion pieces for Silver Jubilee Forum from thought leaders in the NSG community for our Silver Jubilee Forum on the Future of NSG in the US, and with assistance of the Inter-Society Committee continue to seek collaboration of Societies in cross-promoting FastTIMES.

Our sponsors provide the financial support necessary to continue publishing FastTIMES, and I have a short message to them.  As an entrepreneur myself, I am well aware of the financial discipline and selectivity that companies must exercise when allocating their advertising budgets.  With this in mind, I want to thank our loyal corporate sponsors for believing in FastTIMES and what the magazine can do for them.  I vouch to do everything in my power to maintain a healthy readership growth, which will likely result in more visits to their websites and a higher number of business prospects for their respective companies.

I view the chance to help shape the future of our magazine as an exciting personal and professional challenge.  We have started making adjustments after internal consultations and approval from our executive board.  The first major change is a significant modification of the magazine format, from the former PDF files hosted at EEGS website – eegs.org/fasttimes– to a new dedicated website –https://fasttimesonline.co/ -and a web-friendly HTML format.  This change seems appropriate and timely as the new format will give authors, editors and readers access to a number of new capabilities.  The following features are noteworthy: built-in search engine that allows rapid exploration of available papers by keyword; integrated translator that allows on-the-fly translation into over 30 different languages; capability to publish videos and any other type of AV materials; potential to exchange information with social media; and downloadable periodic reports with visitor statistics.  The previous pdf FastTIMES will still be accessible through the historically published links (https://www.eegs.org/latest-issue and https://www.eegs.org/past-issues)

This Special Issue on “UXO Geophysics and SAGEEP 2021” is being published in synchrony with this year’s SAGEEP and the First Munition Response Conference, held jointly and fully online March 14-19.  Several colleagues made this possible.  Jeffrey Leberfinger of Pika International Inc. and John Jackson of USACE’s Environmental and Munitions Center of Expertise guest-edited the UXO technical papers.  Jeff and John are regular contributors of FastTIMES as well as world-renowned UXO experts.  Geoff Pettifer, coordinating with Menia Katsamagka of EAGE, did much of the groundwork of preparing the documentation of the SAGEEP 2021 proceedings that will be a supplement of Volume 26, 1 along with the selection of UXO technical articles from the First Munition Response Conference at SAGEEP 2021.

Readers will find four technical papers with the latest developments on UXO-related geophysical technology.  Cazares et al., present the results of UXO classification using Advanced Geophysical Classification (AGC) based on electromagnetic induction (EMI) and other techniques for identification of presence and size of targets of interest.  Minkler and Süß explore how UAV-mounted advanced sensors can help detect, identify and map a wide range of UXO.  Schultz et al., explain the development of ‘MAGPi’, a compact unit that includes a low-noise atomic magnetometer, data acquisition electronics, embedded real-time processing and communication systems which can be mounted on UAVs for rapid and cost-effective UXO detection.  Miller et al., provide insight on the value of dynamic AGC EMI sensor technologies to reduce UXO clean-up costs

These papers represent contributions of paramount importance to the geophysical community engaged in UXO detection worldwide.  I fully agree with Geoff Pettifer’s statement in his Editorial of the previous UXO-focused FastTIMES Vol 23.4 that “UXO geophysics is without a doubt the highest service that our NSG science can render…”, as these technologies are capable of bringing hope to communities threatened by the dangerous remnants of war.  As a Colombian national, I am particularly sensitive to this topic since vast areas of my own country endure the atrocities of anti-personnel landmines.  These evil devices continue to be planted in conflict areas not far from the homes of innocent civilians.  Despite landmine detection and neutralizing efforts by the government and international NGOs, several landmine-related incidents -often ranging between fatal and amputating- are reported every year in Colombia.

Here is my message to Plinio Dogarí Majoré. 

Dear Plinio,

I am truly saddened for what happened to you a few days ago.  You and I share the same nationality and the same repugnance for the brutality of war.  Rest assured that there is an army of innovative scientists out there who spend day after day figuring out better ways to detect landmines, so that they can be defused before they hurt any more people.  This magazine is a good example of what those scientists are up to. 

Get well soon.

German Y. Ojeda