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Amelia Earhart PNG Theory

Old 28th Feb 2018, 03:25
  #181 (permalink)  
 
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David, sorry to hear of the LiDAR costs, however that may leave the field open for a 'proper' geomagnetic survey...

From your description of your magnetometer I'm not sure that what you had is really what you'd want for this sort of work? The style of gradiometer I'm thinking of will record data that you then download to a computer and analyse - often producing a '3d' relief map of what has been recorded. Typically they use two or more single or multi axis magnetometers (which may be housed in a tube, but it would be unusual to find the batteries also in that tube).

These have been used to great effect in archeologic surveys, but like the unit you used they will be extremely sensitive to nearby ferrous material (the operator should ideal wear gumboots, no watch or belt buckle etc), and it's important to conduct an accurate grid search. I think that with the right sort of gear and some lateral thinking the latter may be able to be addressed to some extent with modern equipment and concurrent GPS data (realising the nature of the terrain you're working with).

Alternatively I see no reason why a reasonable sized drone couldn't carry a suitable gradiometer and be programmed to fly a grid pattern, thus alleviating the terrain issue. I have an idea I've seen someone else here mention this too but I'm aware that there are such things in a commercial field (Sensys comes to mind) although I am uncertain of their effectiveness for this particular search you have in mind as I've not worked with them directly and am unsure if their units are a single magnetometer or a gradiometer.

However taking this one step further I'd suggest that in any event it would be reasonably simple to test the effectiveness of any such system well before trying it out in PNG - place a motor on the ground in a field and/or the side of a hill, run a standard grid pattern from a specified height and chart the results. This should give an idea if it would be suitable for what you need, and/or what could be changed to make it work or improve it etc.

Obviously they do have a cost but it I expect it would be somewhat less than what you've been quoted for the LiDAR survey, and you may find a company or individuals who are able and willing to assist more easily in this space than in LiDAR.

Unfortunately I don't have direct connection with any company that could help you, but I have some experience of the technology (I have built my own mag-gradiometer) and could possibly give you a few leads to try if that was useful - perhaps best to establish contact via a PM if you thought it worthwhile.

Otherwise I trust you will be able to find another suitable, and hopefully successful, angle to approach the search from.

FP.
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Old 28th Feb 2018, 04:08
  #182 (permalink)  
 
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A new angle...?

Presently I am working in two new angles....and one old angle...

Hopefully one angle or better still, two angles.... will work.
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Old 28th Feb 2018, 08:28
  #183 (permalink)  
 
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Er, good to hear about the angles, I trust they work out! Perhaps in the interim you could humour me for a moment?:

Because of my background I have both a personal and professional interest in 'seeing what cannot be seen'. Geophysics forms a significant part of this and the problem you have falls, more or less, within a present branch of research and development that I've been pursuing for a while. This work is one reason why I come back to a magnetic survey methodology for locating the 'plane within your search area.

I've cast around and have been interested to find that there's not a lot of data on magnetic aeroarcheology - larger scale prospecting yes, but not so much the sort of thing I think would be required here. It may be that my search was all too brief, but from first principles (my username is an allusion to this!) I'm not especially surprised. Much of the successful work in the the archeomagnetic survey field has been carried out at ground level, and at relatively close range, after all the anomalies one is looking for are likely to be fairly insignificant and a high degree of spatial resolution is required.

Although the resolution issue may be dealt with to a degree, traversing the ground at any height will severely reduce the ability of sensor(s) to detect these anomalies that are usually underground - obviously the deeper underground the anomaly (object) is, or the higher above ground the sensor is the more difficult this will be. However in the case of most archeology the sort of disturbance that produces the anomalies generally sought is what I'd call secondary. There's no need to go into this in detail here but the mass of metal that you're looking for is a primary interest and should thus be much more evident in any survey conducted at a similar level, and the range of detection would extend to a somewhat higher level than usual in typical archeological applications.

Now, I have some feeling of the terrain and cover that you have in your area of interest, but obviously no personal experience - I wonder what the typical cover height of the foliage is? At what height agl could a small UAV traverse across the area without impediment but maintain a relatively constant distance from the ground?

Where I'm going with this is that my (fluxgate) magnetometers should detect a mass of metal the approx size of a P&W single wasp engine at between 15-20m distance. These are certainly not the best magnetometers available but they are what I have experience of and my view is that, configured as a gradiometer and carried at a distance beneath a UAV, they would probably 'see' such an object at a reduced height agl (let's say 10m for the moment).

From this, and while there are a number of factors that could affect the outcome, a properly conducted grid survey, at a reasonable height agl (less is obviously better!) could stand a fairly good chance of locating the motor and/or complete aircraft you're looking for if they're within the survey area. To be clear; this would be a series of physical measurements plotted and later analysed with appropriate methods - it's not something you'd use like a hand-held metal-detector.

This may not be a 'fit' for whatever you have planned, and it may well be that there are other reasons why it wouldn't work as I hypothesize, but I'm interested enough to want to think more about the problem, at least abstractly... It may also be that someone viewing this has significant experience in this area; any insight would be welcome!

FP.
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Old 28th Feb 2018, 15:42
  #184 (permalink)  
 
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For First Principal...

FP, I see where you are coming from and understand that you have the technology with and for a MAG survey but the problem would be and will be the required "nearness" of the detector to the source, the subject it is trying to detect. The trees will get in the way.

Although the loggers leave a trail of destruction like you would not believe the trail or damage itself is detectabe even in Google Earth as you can see the verbiage has a different shade of green where they have rampaged through the area knocking, chain-sawing and crushing. From SAT photos that are embedded with LAT/LONG and viewed in Adobe I can follow the ridgeline bulldozer track just by the colour change of the green tinge or by the greyscale change in a black and white SAT view.

There are very few glimpses of the ground in a SAT view except on "Zoom Earth" outdated SAT pics you can see where the Logging Company had literally knocked over "everything" (there are logs to be seen lying on the ground) in their attempts at 're-aforestation' and those attempts are showing up on Google Earth as a "different shade of green" as the new trees they plant are Kamarare Trees and the blocks they have planted show up as plain as day on Google earth in the Wide Bay area just back from the coast by the different shade of green.

On the hill, I would say that where they have been, the trees left standing that they have not taken because they are less commercial value will be up to 100 feet tall (30 Metres) so a drone would have to be pre-programmed to stay above a height of say 125 feet above the trees, plus the ground level height. The next problem is that the hill ridgeline is not level.... it increases in height the further it goes to the West so the drone would have to have a safety factor let in there, say 200 feet altitude above the trees, just in case it clonks into an exceptionally high tree.

That to me, would be the problem.

We did at first consider a LiDAR drone and in that case the drone height would have been say, 1500 feet to clear both the trees and the ground level altitudes which due the to slope on the ridgeline would vary, end to end...

Last edited by David Billings; 28th Feb 2018 at 16:06.
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Old 28th Feb 2018, 18:19
  #185 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for that info, it gives me some useful detail to consider now.

I suspect a Caesium magnetometer may be capable of reasonably detecting the sort of thing you're looking for at that distance (125ft) but I don't have any, nor have I experience with them unfortunately.

That said I'll see what data I can find, and if it looks to be useful I'll pass it on. In the meantime I can do a little more with the fluxgate devices I have to get an idea of the range possible with them, given a similar target.

FP.
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Old 28th Feb 2018, 21:30
  #186 (permalink)  
 
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A few points:

I am familiar with aeromagnetic stuff as a result of having to administer one of those University R&D syndicates circa 1998 that was trying helicopter towing of a large loop of antenna for prospecting - an abject and very expensive failure (but a verrrry taaax effective project!). You are going to have to demonstrate reliable detection in Australian jungle conditions before taking something like that to PNG.

Knowing secondary jungle in New Guinea, any drone used is going to have to be expendable, you will never find it, let alone recover it, if it crashes.

For armchair critics of Mr. Billings, consider that where he is going there is not reliable (if any) 240V power, no technical resources and the official bureaucracy is mind blowing if they sense a buck is to be made out of you. The logistics of mounting any expedition in PNG are mind boggling. Anyone who has ever seen the inside of a PNG general store in a village will know what I mean.

The thought also struck me while watching a CAT D8 put in a bushfire containment line late last night was that the driver who allegedly "buried" the wreck out of tribal jealousy, probably also drove over it and crushed it because it saves him time and effort, which is a depressing thought. You may be looking for two engines and a flat aluminium pancake buried eighteen inches deep under featureless secondary jungle.

Sorry for being depressing but I admire your tenacity and wish more power to your arm.
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Old 28th Feb 2018, 23:15
  #187 (permalink)  
 
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Response to Sunfish....

Thanks Sunny all good points.

You would be correct about testing a drone before the venture to PNG but I don't think we are going down that path. The logistics of getting a drone into PNG and down to site without damage to delicate equipment get a bit difficult. We had the same thought with a LiDAR drone and when I heard it needed a largish box and was two stroke powered that raised the DG question for airfreight plus getting it down by road near enough to the site and hoping the out of sight programming boomeranged it back to base was too much.

What 240V electrickery ? None... General Store nearby ? None. There is one miles away across the river at the Palm Oil HQ site but I am told the prices are three times the Kokopo price. Any transport ? None. I did borrow the village bicycle once. It had no rotating pedal footpads and no brakes. Local bureaucracy ? One time when we went down by boat the Local MP asked for a lift from a relief stop along the Gazelle Coast and on to Wide Bay in our hired boat and never said a word to me until we got to the little boat bay near Kalai. Then as he was leaving for Kalai he turned to me and said, "Yu find any-ting, you come talk to me OK ?".... It was an order...

Yes, it may well be flattened as you say, certainly the bare, house block-sized patch I saw (and now suspect) in late 1996 was fairly level which is why I thought at the time that they might well be intending to store logs there before the Jinker picked them up as we had seen a similar area down by the main river that was being used for that purpose. However I may be totally wrong about that cleared patch.

Against that thought is that the information that came with the news of the burial was that the BD driver did intend to go back and dig it out at some stage when we had stopped searching. Even if the stamped Data Plate on the Instrument Panel has corroded to dust there are enough identifying features on the aircraft for a positive i.D. Flattened is an extreme but when I.D.'d, someone else can take over and then the geniuses can work out the rest.

Sunfish, you sound less skeptical !
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Old 1st Mar 2018, 00:49
  #188 (permalink)  
 
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I spent a little time this morning attempted to call some people in Australia who may have more of an insight with regard to use of magnetometers in this particular area (in both senses of the word 'area'!). Unfortunately half of the country appeared to be out or in meetings but I hope to get a response in the next day or so. If not I'll try again next week.

@Sunfish: Interesting to hear of your experience, I suspect from your description that may not have been a magnetometer per se(?). From what I understand there have been some advances in the field over the past 15 or more years such that a caesium unit could be somewhat more useful for this task than what you were previously using. Certainly I think it's worth persevering with the enquiries at this stage.

Totally agree with the testing aspect prior to taking it to site, the area does sound rather inhospitable. As it happens I have a very similar site available (~200 acres of what might be described as 'jungle' on a hillside), so could trial something, but I'm a wee distance from you and don't have the necessary sensors available. As a lightly amusing but related aside I do have access to a [twin] wasp engine and also own a bulldozer, but I won't be carrying out any testing to that degree of realism

FP.
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Old 1st Mar 2018, 19:55
  #189 (permalink)  
 
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FP,you are right, I don't think it was a magnetometer, some sort of pulsed metal detector, however it proved to be dangerously unstable flying under a helicopter so all hte project did was generate huge tax deductions, which was after all the purpose of these R & D schemes.

I hope there has been progress since then and that there is technology to help Mr. Billings.

The point I was trying to make was that one would need to be very sure that the technology was both robust and sensitive enough to detect the wreck before investing the time and money needed to overcome the very considerable logistical, bureaucratic and political challenges of deploying it to the back blocks of PNG.

I suggest that would involve a test of finding a suitable crankshaft in jungle with soil conditions like PNG if that factor is deemed to affect accuracy like mineralisation affects hand held metal detectors.

Once found, there will then be political issues to solve with the PNG Government and locals over "their" wreck that should involve the Australian and U. S. governments. Considering all the hurdles, there is therefore a good chance for the project to end in tears but if one approaches it with an open mind about the risks, it is perhaps worth doing.

Has crowd funding been considered?
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Old 1st Mar 2018, 22:41
  #190 (permalink)  
 
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Looking at a few options....

I am looking at a few options at the moment, "GoFundMe" is one of them.

When I wrote the new website and produced it in early 2016 it was not very long before I had people that read it and people on here, on this Forum saying, "Put a PayPal button on the website"... On this single very thread there were about five people who said that.

Of the three donations I have received since the PayPal button went on one is from an ex-R.A.F. Apprentice from the same Training establishment I went through in the years 56-59, one is from a mate who worked at Air Niugini and one is directly attributable to this thread. Was it worth putting a PayPal button in the website.

I have come to the conclusion that people just love to read about the project. They read the evidence, all the history, all the explanations, all the reasoning and all the answers to the questions I receive.... all the answers to the armchair critics which I consider reasonable... but all that does not translate into more donations than the two donations received since I reopened this zombie thread on February 4th almost one month ago.

The Project news first appeared in the "USA Today" newspaper in August 2004 and since then it has been on several websites in the U.S. and most people are surprised that there has been no one really wealthy person backing this to the hilt since those displays started 14 years ago. I too am surprised.

For a variety of reasons I am deferring the June trip to a later date.

The seasons are changing up in PNG. June used to be a good weather month. Indeed, in April 1945, the Patrol A1 report includes the words that tracks seen "are Jeepable in June weather"... The good weather has slipped back to "August to October". I had hoped to conclude the June trip around July 4th....

You will have read that we cannot secure a LiDAR survey due to the enormous cost contained in a quote issued by an Australian Company in Sydney.

You will have read that we were funded last year. I am unsure of that funding continuing this year either for June or for later.

The airline up there is in a heap of trouble and the schedule is disrupted on a daily basis. I would prefer to wait until that disruption stabilises. No one desires to be stuck in Port Moresby anymore going "in" or "out".

Funding this Project has always been a problem, it is a case of "believe the evidence and the reasoning" or "do not believe the evidence and the reasoning". Seemingly it is the latter.

I will continue but it will be a little later.

David Billings
www.earhartsearchpng.com

Last edited by David Billings; 2nd Mar 2018 at 00:15.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 17:39
  #191 (permalink)  
 
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LIDAR and survey work

David, has anybody else done survey work there in that area in conjunction with other things that might be of use to you?.

Military or jungle survey photos , scans ,or whatever? I know you made reference to some satellite and WW2 photos..
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 23:27
  #192 (permalink)  
 
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LIDAR and survey work...

Propertee64 asks:

"David, has anybody else done survey work there in that area in conjunction with other things that might be of use to you?."

I guess the Open Bay Timber company did a survey of sorts to decide where they needed to put tracks in to extract logs.

Apart from that, "No, I do not think so." No doubt they will be doing more of it in later years because we have seen traces of copper.

"Military or jungle survey photos , scans ,or whatever? I know you made reference to some satellite and WW2 photos.."

I have seen Map overlays in the Australian War Memorial which depict where the patrolling took place on the south side and the north side of the Mevelo River and I know exactly how far Patrol A1 reached and where they reached on 16th April '45. I know where they camped on the night of the 17th April '45. Obviously the wreck is between these two points which run for about three and a half kilometres. Now, I have narrowed down the probable wreck location to an area about one half a kilometre long but if course, we have heard since 2011, that it is buried.

I have a 1943 aerial taken by a Lockheed F-4 from 23,000 feet from almost exactly over the centre of the search area and that has been extremely useful. It was an early morning shot and there is lots of tree crown shadows down sun, so it is hard to differentiate the possibility of 'holes' in the canopy. It is clear down to about 5,000 feet then if gets fuzzy. It has been useful when tracing the original course of the major and minor rivers in the area, and of course... it is a beautiful piece of work... .

I have the 1943 map which was produced from that photograph.

I have a 1976 Topographical map original which I purchased in PNG in 1994 and I have the same map which has been digitised and I can "Mouse" LAT/LONG on that, It is extremely accurate when I make comparison to my hand-held GPS Waypoints.

I have SAT photos from Global View and these are also digitised with Lat/Long available to the mouse.

I have been presented with the 1943 photo and the 1976 digital mao and the SAT views by a Team member who is a gentleman and a scholar and who is, of course, a believer. It cheers me up no end when that happens.

In fact I have been using all these resources this very morning from 5:00 am onwards to plot waypoints for the next attemppt. If some real funding comes through, I might get to use them....

Last edited by David Billings; 4th Mar 2018 at 00:11.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 05:20
  #193 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe of interest to this intriguing project in PNG: The use of a magnetometer in the search for VH-MDX in the Barrington Tops was research recently. This involved opinions from those who use these devices commercially as part of mineral exploration. It was concluded that the target was too small to be able to get close enough (estimated at 20m) from the air to detect the very small amount of ferrous metal that would be in a small aircraft wreckage in a rainforest.
If you can make a magnetometer of use in this type of search I’d love to hear about it.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 06:06
  #194 (permalink)  
 
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MJA chaser....

Yes, that is the opinion I had back in 2009 from an experienced MAG Operator on these boards.

Of late others say a different opinion but that opinion also is contingent on the device being near to the source and when consideration of the tree height is taken, the opinion diminishes somewhat. Where trees have been removed, obviously there are gaps and smaller secondary growth, but lone trees left there as not commercially valuable or hard to get at pose an aviation hazard for the unwary drone or helicopter.

Technical advances in Magnetometers may prove otherwise.

This reasoning is why I went for LiDAR, not to pick out the aircraft for that is buried, but to give me a ground surface picture I could pore over to see where the billdozer driver went all over that hill and to assess for "any change" in the natural flow of the land on the hill.

Even today I found something I did not know but there again, it was something that nagged at me. There is the old adage of "You learn something every day" and I am a firm believer in that . Today, I found a small valley on the hill that I did not know existed, yet, there it is, if you use all the resources you can muster, those resources as I mentioned in my earlier post today, so I say, "all is not lost". I just need the funding.

Last edited by David Billings; 4th Mar 2018 at 06:40.
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Old 5th Mar 2018, 04:01
  #195 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MJA Chaser View Post
Maybe of interest to this intriguing project in PNG: The use of a magnetometer in the search for VH-MDX in the Barrington Tops was research recently.
Do you have any detail on this research? I'm going through the process at the moment and it would be useful to know more about the inputs and outcome of any evaluation.

FP.
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Old 5th Mar 2018, 05:06
  #196 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by First_Principal View Post
Do you have any detail on this research? I'm going through the process at the moment and it would be useful to know more about the inputs and outcome of any evaluation.

FP.
Yes, in a nut shell the size of the target is so small that a commercially available magnetometer needs to be within an estimated 20m of the target to detect it. Virtually impossible in a rainforest. Magnetometers are useful for finding large ferrous bodies and a wreck of a light aircraft isnít a large ferrous body.



What process are you going through and for what? Maybe PM me??
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Old 5th Mar 2018, 05:37
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Ok, thanks. I was interested in the type of magnetometer researched (eg. fluxgate, caesium, potassium etc), their sensitivity, the type/mass of the target material and whether the proposed search was as a plotted and post-processed survey or simple MAD etc.

I'd be keen to follow up if you've got this detail? That's the research and process I'm presently following up so if there's someone to speak with who has been through this, at least in part, it could be useful.

FP.
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Old 5th Mar 2018, 05:50
  #198 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up

[QUOTE=...., the type/mass of the target material ....

FP.[/QUOTE]

A Cessna 210. That was the problem, to small to detect from hundreds of meters away. We didnt go to any more further assesment.

Others did try back mounted devices walking around in the bush which werent practicle plus a sensing array was hovered over another Cessna at an airfield in another attemp to see if it could work and couldnt detect what they could see.

Very frustrating as it would be great if it could be proved to work.
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Old 5th Mar 2018, 08:40
  #199 (permalink)  
 
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Quite, I wouldn't expect 100's of metres range, but if it wasn't possible to detect a 210 at say 20 or 30 metres I suspect the equipment may not have been ideal for the task in hand.

I base this on my magnetometers which (as earlier noted) will detect a mass similar to a wasp engine at around 15m. These are older mags, modern units should be significantly better - these are what I'm trying to gain some insight on.

I understand David's desire to use LiDAR, but it's highly unlikely to detect a 'plane per se, although it will give the lie of the land as he's stated. If one had infinite resource then that could help, but without that luxury I'm interested to see if modern magnetic equipment could or would be suitable for the task of directly locating the craft.

If so then it may be a cost-effective option that becomes viable for this search, but beside that it could also be useful for others - as you've alluded to. Hence I think it's worth spending some time on. If you had contact details for those that carried out the work with the array you mention that might be useful, thanks.

FP.
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Old 5th Mar 2018, 09:00
  #200 (permalink)  
 
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would the magnetos provide some signal? Also the crank on a radial is going to be wrather short compared to an inline engine.. Is the magnetometer signal a function of geometry as well as mass?

If 20m range on a wasp crankshaft could be reliably demonstrated would it be technically possible ( not necessarily financially) to grid the area into 20 x 20 squares and "dip' the magnetometer as in dipping sonar from a helo?
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