View of the forest from the summit of La Danta. The forests of Mirador have protected four largest Maya cities in all of Central America.

Scientific Exploration

Map of Fires

This image shows the relentless march of fires across the largest remaining tropical rain forest in Central America. Each red dot represents a fire detected by MODIS ( Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) data provided by University of Maryland and NASA. The fires result from intrusive settlers who follow newly constructed roads built facilitate logging, oil exportation and looting. In many cases, these people are paid by well financed narcotics interests who move into the clear cut area after two or three seasons of corn and bean plantings to establish major cattle operations.. It shows how in the last six years the fires have devastated the Parque Nacional Lagunna del Tigre to the west, Mexico to the north, and are starting to appear along the logging roads to the east. Each year the fire burns closer to the Mirador Basin, the heart of this unique ecosystem. The road to Carmelita in the west, and the escarpment to the east are the last lines of defense.

Mapping Technologies

Mapping exist as a crucial part of the exploration of new sites in the Mirador Basin. By using a combination of Total Station and Laser Scanner Technology, sub-surface radar equipment, real time GPS units, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and aerial electronic radar (AIRSAR), archaeologists and other specialists are able to define the extent and nature of the basinís early settlement patterns. The information derived from these mapping techniques also enables the expert to establish sampling, conservation, and excavation strategies for archaeological sites and surrounding environment.