Demonstrators march for the missing Ayotzinapa students. Demonstrators at one of countless marches on behalf of the missing Ayotzinapa students.

High-tech gear used in search for 43

Two systems have been used to locate the missing Ayotzinapa students

The search for the 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college, who disappeared in 2014, went high-tech last year.

The federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) invested more than 600,000 pesos (about USD $31,600) in high technology systems to attempt to locate the students, who disappeared during a night of violence in Iguala, Guerrero.

One of those systems was Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, a remote sensing method that utilizes light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances to the Earth.

The process was used on the urging of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), the human rights advocacy group Centro Prodh and the Argentinian Team of Forensic Anthropology, all of whom have been involved in the investigation of the case.

They believed that Lidar might help authorities identify possible clandestine graves.

In response, the PGR not only equipped its agents with the Lidar system but also with a satellite navigation-powered image processing system called GrafNav.

According to an information request filed by the newspaper Milenio, the PGR used the Lidar system between July and August last year over areas in the Guerrero municipalities of Iguala and Cocula.

The GrafNav system, which can generate high-resolution 3D imagery on request, was used in February and between June and August last year also in Iguala and Cocula, as well as in Chilapa, Tepecoacuilco, Apaxtla and Huitzuco.

GrafNav can cover isolated and rugged terrain without affecting resolution. In February last year it was deployed on a drone and in an aircraft.

After a six-month hiatus, representatives of the federal government and the parents of the missing students held a meeting two weeks ago. The PGR pledged to spare no expense in the search, including the financing of the Lidar system, which is to be deployed over the largest area possible.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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