Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Peru This Week: Peru uses drones for archaeological projects


"Peru uses drones for archeological projects"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Peru This Week
July 21, 2014
Originally published: http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-peru-uses-drones-for-archeological-projects-103444

At a time when the usage of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for military purposes continues to be controversial around the world, Peru is successfully utilizing its drones for civilian projects. Specifically, Peruvian archaeologists are using drones to study pre-Inca ruins in the country’s Andes and Amazon.
The UAVs’ video and photography cameras are certainly helpful as they provide archeologists an “eye in the sky” for research, including locating ruins which are not easily spotted from the ground. Additionally, drones can help create 3D models of archeological sites.
The era of archeological drones in Peru has started thanks to the 2013 discovery of tombs that belonged to a pre-Inca culture called Chachapoyas. The tombs were located in El Tigre mountain, in the Amazonas region. A drone flew 300 meters and photographed 23 sarcophagi which, according to the Peruvian media, are part of a cemetery for the children of important families of the Chachapoya people. The drone that was used for this important discovery was a Phantom I, which is produced by the Chinese company DJI.
This successful usage of drones will likely entice the Peruvian government to acquire more of them. Already, there are reports that the Peruvian Ministry of Culture plans to purchase more drones for archaeological projects in the Lambayeque and La Libertad regions, where there is evidence of the presence of two other pre-Inca cultures: Lambayeque and Chimu. Besides the Chachapoyas finding, drones are already being used elsewhere in Peru. For example, the renowned Peruvian archeologist Luis Jaime Castillo, has flown drones to explore the San Jose de Moro site, an ancient burial ground that belonged to the Moche culture and which encompasses 150 hectares.
But as much as drones can aid Peruvian archaeologists, this new technology has a few drawbacks. An August 2013 report by Reuters explains, “[drone] batteries are big and short-lived, it can take time to learn to work with the sophisticated software and most drones struggle to fly in higher altitudes.” The last point is important as the Peruvian Andes are filled with ruins dating back to the Inca empire (i.e. the Machu Picchu citadel) and pre-Inca cultures. The fact that some drones cannot perform well at high altitudes is a problem that will hopefully be solved as new models are produced that can adapt to different environments. 
As for learning how to fly drones, the Peruvian government is carrying out proactive initiatives. For example, this past March the Ministry of Culture organized a workshop on drone usage in Lima and also in the Tumbas Reales de Sipan Museum in the Lambayeque region. These workshops brought together over a hundred specialists that focus on different aspects of discovering and protecting Peru’s historical heritage; they learned how to utilize drones for aerial photography, 3D modeling and digital topography.
The aforementioned Castillo is now Peru’s deputy minister for culture and a supporter of using drone technology for archaeological purposes in the Andean nation. In a February interview, he highlighted how “now, for a few hundred dollars, you can buy a decent quadricopter with a camera. You’re going from nothing to everything.” Castillo was referring to how previously Peruvian archaeologists had to resort to sketchpads to draw the peculiarities and aspects of a site, but now a drone greatly facilitates this work.
Without a doubt, UAVs can have various positive effects on the future of Peruvian archeology. As the Andean country continues to enjoy a decade of economic growth, hopefully sufficient funds will be given to Peruvian cultural agencies in order to not only protect Peru’s rich history, but also strengthen future archeological projects.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Press Release: NEW PUBLICATION BY COHA SENIOR FELLOW W. ALEJANDRO SANCHEZ: PERU’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS




 NEW PUBLICATION BY COHA SENIOR FELLOW W. ALEJANDRO SANCHEZ: PERU’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs is pleased to highlight the most recent work of one of its most active young scholars, COHA Senior Research Fellow W. Alejandro Sanchez.
His most recent essay is: “Misiones Singularmente Complicadas: El Rol del Peru en las Operaciones de Paz de las Naciones Unidas.” Sanchez’s work was initially published in Perspectivas, a journal by the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies of the National Defense University. (Vol. 2, July 2014, P. 7-19).
To access a free PDF copy of this essay click here.
Sanchez’ analysis discusses Peru’s contributions to over a dozen UN peacekeeping operations since 1958 to the present. In order to advance his argument, he carries out case studies of Peru’s role in two particular missions: the “Batallón Peru,” which participated in the peace missions after the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict, and the “Compañia Peru,” which currently forms part of MINUSTAH, the ongoing UN peace mission in Haiti. Finally, COHA’s analyst carries out an in-depth discussion of Peru’s present political, security, and economic situation, pondering the question whether Lima could realistically increase its contributions to UN peacekeeping missions in the near future.
W. Alejandro Sanchez is COHA’s dedicated specialist on geopolitics, military and cyber security issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. He regularly appears in a variety of media outlets and is a regular contributor to publications such as VOXXI and Blouin News. He is also an alumna of the Perry Center. You can follow Sanchez via his Twitter at: @W_Alex_Sanchez.
Sanchez has published various articles on Latin America contributions to UN peacekeeping missions:
“Brazil’s Grand Design for Combining Global South Solidarity and National Interests: A Discussion of Peacekeeping Operations in Haiti and Timor.” Globalizations. 2012 Special Issue. Volume 9, Issue 1. Pages 161-178http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14747731.2012.627719(contact COHA via e-mail if you would like a PDF of this essay)
“Contributor Profile: Peru.” Providing for Peacekeeping Project. October 21, 2013.  http://www.providingforpeacekeeping.org/
“Peacekeeping and Military Operations by Latin American Militaries: Between Being a Good Samaritan and Servicing the National Interest.” Report. Council on Hemispheric Affairs. January 22, 2010. http://www.coha.org/peacekeeping-and-military-operations/
If you would like to contact Mr. Sanchez regarding his latest analysis, or with the offices of any other of our other specialists, we invite you to do so via e-mail at coha@coha.org or by calling our offices at +1.202.223.4975. Also, be sure to follow us via our free e-newsletter and social media accounts.
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 NUEVA PUBLICACION POR EL ANALISTA W. ALEJANDRO SANCHEZ SOBRE LAS CONTRIBUCIONES DE PERU EN LAS OPERACIONES DE PAZ DE LA ONU
El Consejo de Asuntos Hemisféricos se complace en infomar a nuestros seguidores el reciente artículo de uno de nuestros jóvenes investigadores, W. Alejandro Sánchez.
Su ensayo más reciente es: “Misiones Singularmente Complicadas: El Rol del Perú en las Operaciones de Paz de las Naciones Unidas.” y apareció en Perspectivas, un magazine especializado en temas de seguridad y defensa que es publicado por el Centro de Estudios de Defensa Hemisféricos William J. Perry,  de la National Defense University. (Vol. 2, July 2014, P. 7-19).
Para ver una versión gratis en PDF del artículo haga click aquí.
El análisis de Sánchez discute las contribuciones de Perú a las operaciones de paz de las Naciones Unidas y  recapitula la historia de la participación de las fuerzas armadas peruanas en más de una docena de misiones de la ONU desde 1958 hasta el presente. Para ilustrar su argumento, el autor lleva a cabo dos casos de estudio: el rol del “Batallón Perú” en la misión de paz después del conflicto Árabe-Israelí de 1973 y la participación de la “Compañía Perú” hoy en día en MINUSTAH, la misión de paz en Haití. Finalmente, Sánchez discute la situación de Perú hoy en día en términos políticos, de defensa y económicos. El objetivo es discutir si es realmente posible que Perú incremente en forma significativa sus contribuciones a las misiones de la ONU en el futuro cercano.
W. Alejandro Sánchez es el experto de COHA que se concentra en temas geopolíticos, militares y de ciber-seguridad en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Él ha aparecido varias veces en diferentes medios de comunicación y también escribe para VOXXI y Blouin News. Sánchez es también un ex alumno del Centro Perry. Les invitamos a que sigan a nuestro analista vía Twitter:@W_Alex_Sanchez.
Sanchez ha escrito varios artículos sobre el rol de Peru y Latinoamérica en general en las misiones de paz de la ONU:
“Brazil’s Grand Design for Combining Global South Solidarity and National Interests: A Discussion of Peacekeeping Operations in Haiti and Timor.” Globalizations. 2012 Special Issue. Volume 9, Issue 1. Pages 161-178 (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14747731.2012.627719– por favor manden un e-mail a COHA si desea una copia de este artículo en PDF)
“Contributor Profile: Peru.” Providing for Peacekeeping Project. October 21, 2013.  http://www.providingforpeacekeeping.org/
“Peacekeeping and Military Operations by Latin American Militaries: Between Being a Good Samaritan and Servicing the National Interest.” Report. Council on Hemispheric Affairs. January 22, 2010. http://www.coha.org/peacekeeping-and-military-operations/
Si le gustaría contactarse con el Señor Sánchez sobre su más reciente análisis, le invitamos a enviar su mensaje a nuestro correocoha@coha.org o llamen a nuestras oficinas al +1.202.223.4975. También le recomendamos de subscribirse a nuestro boletín electrónico y seguirnos vía nuestras cuentas sociales.