There are, however, some hopeful signs; I have heard from a couple of Franklin buffs about the possibility that the Canadian government may be considering the use of LIDAR telemetry to narrow the range of targets, or (possibly) even locate the ships themselves, without having to dispatch a ground team at all. LIDAR (the name is an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging) uses lasers to create detailed maps of the surface or near subsurface features; NASA has already done some impressive work with its EAARL (Experimental Advanced Airborne Research LIDAR) in creating highly detailed 3D models of coastal features, including underwater topography. Such a system could, in theory at least, be used to obtain imagery from the region of King William Island which could include submerged features such as ships or debris fields. At the very least, it's an intriguing possibility.
In the meantime Ron Carlson -- assuming some co-operation from weather, local officials, and permits -- will soon be in Gjoa Haven making final preparations for his fly-over of key KWI sites using thermal sensing technology, in hopes that he may be able to identify the site of Franklin's grave. It could be a very interesting year indeed.