Manitobans making more requests for technology to find unmarked gravesites

A local ground penetrating radar (GPR) technician said Manitobans are making more requests for GPR technology, which was used to find the unmarked graves of 215 residential school children in Kamloops, B.C.

Allan Gunter, a GPR technician, said he has received quite a few calls in the last week regarding searches for unmarked burials, noting this is something he has done in the past.

“We have been on job sites where we’ve used this technology to look for unmarked burial sites,” he said.

Gunter explained that GPR is radar, similar to what is used to track airplanes and ships, however, it is shot into the ground.

“Just like any other kind of a radar it reflects off of different material densities and then comes onto the display screen and we have to interpret the data that it brings back,” he said.

He said when doing the searches, the technicians are looking for anomalies.

“We can’t specify what we’re finding, but we can say, well there’s an anomaly that fits a description of a certain dimension at a certain depth, that kind of thing, of what somebody might be looking for,” Gunter said.

As for whether there is enough trained technicians and equipment in Manitoba to meet a spike in demand for GPR searches, Gunter said they will have to see how high the demand actually is.

“Right now we’re getting a lot of calls just out of curiosity,” he said.

“We have a decent team here and we’ve got enough equipment that we should be able to satisfy the needs of whatever needs to be done, but we’re not sure what that is going to look like yet.”