I've been playing around with GE for the last couple of hours and just out of interest I wanted to see if I could find any cocaine plantations in Colombia. (I know the US uses satellite imaging to spot the plantations)
I stumbled upon a "GE Community" mark that's tagged as a cocaine field (attached kmz file). Can anyone confirm this? Does anyone know how to identify these plantations?
I think it'd be really interesting to get a sense of what portion of Colombia is covered in cocaine.
My personal take is that you will have a really hard time making a confident identification of a coca field. Any clearing in the forest, any field-like feature, and any cultivated area is going to look pretty much the same. Can you tell if its a field of grass and flowers, or if a farmer is growing yams or coca there with the resolution on Gearth? I doubt it.
The link you provided is located in a flatland area at an elevation of about 650ft or so. Research shows that most coca varieties are grown in the hills and mountains on the eastern slopes of the Andes at elevations from about 1600 ft. to 5000 ft. - it is not plant for swampy lowlands so I doubt the file in question is a coca field.
It is easy to find isolated clearings in the Andean foothills of Peru, Bolivia, etc. located in the middle of brush and forest with no road access nearby. I suspect these are more what you are looking for. There are lots of them, let me tell you.
I attached a link for what looks a more likely case to me.
If you want a guess at how much of the Andean coca regions are under cultivation you'll probably get a better (but biased) estimate through media sources.
If you check the posting's author though, you'll notice that he's from Medellin, Colombia.
He ought to know what a plantation looks like.
I found another mark tagged as a plantation on Bolivia ( 16░11'35.06"S 67░43'10.41"W), this one even has a picture of the field. Half a km NE of the plantation you'll find what looks like to me as the drug lord's house (nice big swimming pool).
Subfinder what led you to believe that your link is a coca field?
I've been looking at pictures of the plant and it looks light greenish. It's flower is almost yellow. (http://www.vancouverseedbank.ca/catalog/images/Coca.jpg)
You're right in that I can probably find more info from articles on cultivation but it's a lot more fun doing it (trying to do it) with GE.
Drug crops are found using colour analysis software.
Photos taken from the air are analysed for certain colours, the rest of the photo is shown in mono, and the chosen colours stand out.
Plantations are easily spotted.
Each drug has it's own distinct set of colours, it's not just 'green'.
I confess I was speculating on the placemark. My reasoning was based on this: elevation between 1500 ft. and 5000 ft., located near a well know cocaine producing area, a clearing in the natural growth, located away from populated areas and easy road access (a typical farm would have no reason to hide). I am no expert, and have no special colour analysis software, I was just interested in the discussion.
I am mostly interested in spotting subs.
It's not like half the country is planted in it! those cleared patches in the middle of the jungle might be coca (not cocaine), but as you can see, Colombia is a big country, no a big coca field.
Originally Posted by N-BB
Last edited by epuyanas; 04-17-2008 at 09:27 PM.
Now this is for sure a coca field
I found that after reading the "Bolivia coca cultivation survey for 2006" (page 18) - http://www.unodc.org/pdf/research/ic...006_en_web.pdf