Planet Images and Artificial Intelligence Used to Detect Coca Paste Production Sites, Supporting Surveillance Strategies Against Drug Trafficking

PlanetScope image above showing border between Colombia and Venezuela taken on January 31, 2022. © 2022, Planet Labs PBC. All Rights Reserved. 

Authorities across the Latin American region are working to strengthen intervention strategies against drug trafficking. However, there are significant challenges to tracking these illegal supply chains, including the monitoring of primary infrastructures that produce coca paste that is needed for the production of cocaine. But researchers from Federal University of Paran in Curitiba, Brazil are leveraging Planet data and artificial intelligence to detect these infrastructures and their locations in the border region between Venezuela and Colombia. With a combination of PlanetScope imagery, ground truth data, and additional information sources, their team created a robust dataset with 16,778 training samples. “The detection of primary infrastructures linked to the production of cocaine and its derivatives is not an easy task, mainly for law enforcement agencies, since the identification of the dynamics that affect the production processes of this illicit substance generates very high costs and risks due to the insecurity conditions of the affected areas,” said the authors. “The results show the potential of Artificial Intelligence to interpret Planet satellite imagery and strengthen interdiction and surveillance strategies against drug production.”

The full study can be found in the Journal of Supplied Security Research.

Our websites use cookies.
We use cookies to improve our services and tailor content for you. Your browser settings control cookies. For more information about the use of cookies on our websites, please see our Privacy Policy.