Week 10

For this week I prepared and presented my thesis presentation and wrote Vita, Acknowledgments and Dedication as follows:


Carlos Bautista is from Bogotá, Colombia. He was born on the 27th of July of 1981. He holds a bachelor degree in Industrial Design from Javeriana University. He has academic experience being an Industrial Design professor for different Universities is his country. He is an entrepreneur and has worked in different projects related to design with social impact.

During the past two years he has been doing research trying to find a solution for the antipersonnel mines problem that is afflicting his country. He gained the third Prize, NYC Media Lab Annual Summit, AR-APM (Augmented Antipersonnel Mines) Research Project. Also he has supported student teams in providing guidance and resources for ideation and prototyping and run various workshops for the NYU community as an active leader of the DFA (Design For America) of NYU.


I would first like to thank my thesis advisor Professor Claudio Silva of the Tandon School of Engineering/Computer Science department at NYU. The door to Prof. Silva office was always open whenever I ran into a trouble spot or had a question about my research or writing.

I would also like to thank the experts who were involved in the research phase of this research project: Professor Mark Skwarek, Professor Dana Karwas, Professor Charles Downs and Co-Director and an Industry Associate Professor of Integrated Digital Media DeAngela Duff. Without their passionate participation and input, the research phase could not have been successfully conducted.

I would also like to acknowledge Professor Anne Laure Fayard of the Department of Technology Management and Innovation at NYU as the second reader of this thesis, and I am gratefully indebted to her for her very valuable comments on this thesis.

I would also like to thank to The Directorate for Comprehensive Action against Antipersonnel Mines and their Scientific and Technical Committee headed by Professor Diego Alejandro Torres Galindo who has been an invaluable partner throughout this process.

Finally, I must express my very profound gratitude to my parents, my parents in law and to my wife Andrea Dávila for providing me with unfailing support and continuous encouragement throughout my years of study and through the process of researching and writing this thesis. This accomplishment would not have been possible without them. Thank you.


This thesis is dedicated to Andrea Davila who has been a constant source of support and encouragement during the challenges of graduate school and life. I am very grateful to have you in my life. This work is also dedicated to people in Colombia who have been victims of armed conflict and hope like me, living in a reconciled country.

Week 08

For this week I kept working in the development of the app and wrote conclusion and abstract for the thesis document as well


Landmines are certainly a huge issue in countries affected by armed conflict due to the fact that can remain active for over 50 years after the conflict’s end. This issue has been addressed so far by developing technologies focused on military technology, largely due to the fact that they are the most affected by this scourge in a scenario of armed conflict. Yet, it is important to note that the civilian population is also being affected and the numbers may lean toward them at an accelerated rate in a scenario of post conflict.

Technologies for mobile development, Information collection methods for GPS Devices and Information Visualization are some of the available options to mitigate the problem. Moreover, the access to reliable information about clearance processes is key to avoid the damages by Anti-personnel Mines casualties.

By developing Mine Safe: A mobile App for civilian population of rural zones in Colombia, to identify landmine safe paths for their daily commutes. This project aims to understand the state of the art of the current technologies for humanitarian demining in Colombia as a medium to generate relevant technological applications to contribute to the humanitarian demining process for both civilian and military population.


Research is intended to reach new conclusions in certain topic, in the particular case of this paper these conclusions seems to be more questions. How can the ability to divert/avoid land mines become more accessible to the public? Was the original question that gave origin to this work. Since this question has not been resolved yet. There are some clues on how to tackle this issue by using information and delivering this information to the public to gain accessibility and build accuracy.

Tools developed during this process are intended to deliver information to the population of rural areas regardless their social status or other considerations that might limit the access to technology. These issues can be tackled by establishing international Cooperation between both private and public organizations. For instance the collaboration established between the Colombian government and Academia through the Scientific and Technical Committee illustrate how this relationship can be take to the next level by strengthening and encouraging joint investigation.

Next steps for this project will be definitely attached to collaboration between Academia, Public Sector, Private Entities, Researchers, NGO’s and of course the Colombian Population. Furthermore as the landmine issue is not an isolated situation this project could be extended and adapted to another countries such as Afghanistan, Angola and Iraq among many others were landmines remain an active issue.

Week 07

Developing a mobile prototype

I focused this week on having a “hello world” app running in a mobile phone using Mapbox. To deliver this goal I broke the task in small chunks:

  • Start and set up a new x-code project
  • Install additional required software (MapBox SDK, cocoa)
  • Create a new Github repository to control versions on the app
  • Upload the first map into the mobile app
  • Determine the initial user position
  • Create a customized map highlighting roads and  replacing the first map

Plans for next iteration are: determine user position, tracking user’s movement and collecting info from displacements.

I also improved my thesis writing process by completing the outline and adding content  find my thesis document here.

Additionally  (thanks to Chun-Fang Huang) for introducing to me to flora wearable GPS I’m not quite sure how I’m gonna integrate or if I’m going to use it. However, I consider this is a remarkable asset to capture user coordinates and it would be great if deminers or canine members of the demining team can wear this device in order to track their movements and collect information.

Week 06

As discussed in the last meeting with Claudio Silva (Thesis Advisor) and DeAngela Duff, I did research on the main SDK’s for making the app prototype.

The options were:

  • Leaflet (An open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps)
  • Map box (An open source mapping platform for custom designed maps. Our APIs and SDKs are the building blocks to integrate location into any mobile or web app)
  • Open Layers (An open source javascript library to load, display and render maps from multiple sources on web pages)

After playing around and look up for comments and references in the web I found that MapBox appears to be the strongest candidate for developing the app prototype due to his easy access SDK, strong documentation and compatibility with both web based and mobile apps.

Week 05

This has been a pretty exciting week full of meetings and a bit of writing (find my thesis body and intro doc):

First I met the Operative Coordinator of the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines, Camilo Serna and here are the main take aways from that meeting:

Camilo Serna

  • “It would be interesting if the app can help demining NGO’s to build the non-technical survey, because so far in Colombia except for 3 municipalities (out of 688 affected by  landmines) that information does not exist.”
  • The international standard to deliver a zone whit out landmines is HF (which means a zone with no suspected hazardous areas) but even under those conditions there are always uncertain zones where the suspicious hasn’t been completely discarded.
  • For the development of your project it is vital to ask the government for official information about released zones (zones with technical survey) in order to plan an accurate pilot to try the app.
  • Once the existing information had been collected I can give you access to our network with more than 520 volunteers in the rural zones of Colombia to start with the field work.

Then I met the scientific and technical committee of integral action against landmines Integrated by members of the Army, National Parks System of Colombia, Indumil (National weapons company for the Colombian Government) and the National University of Colombia and during that meeting I did a presentation or the project to the committee and the main take aways are as follows:

Comite Cientifico

  • The app could be a great asset for officials of the national park network.
  • There is a concern about connectivity in certain regions of the country.
  • For the military app it’s important to point out that most of the planted landmines in Colombia are non-conventional explosive devices which makes the process even harder. However, they are willing to provide detailed information about this artifact in order to develop an accurate solution.
  • They can give me access to the existing non technical survey information.
  • Support from the army in order to get the accurate information of the demining process.
  • They want to know the deadline for the beta releasing of the app.

And Last but not least, I had my weekly meeting with my thesis advisor Claudio Silva where we discussed about the previous meetings and we agreed on the importance of start playing with some of the existing API’s to figure out how the APP should work.


Week 04

For this week I had the following achievements:

  • Confirmed Skype meeting with the Colombian Government for Monday Feb 29th.
  • Met with Claudio Silva (Thesis Advisor) main insights from meeting:
  1. Defining the app functionality was a great asset.
  2. Need to gather the existing information from halo trust.
  3. Discuss about technical issues and possible solutions for the app in order to get satelital imagery and track the user position (Open paths, leaflet, mapbox, openstreetmap)