Highwall scanning and 3D mapping is an essential process in open pit mining operations. It allows geologists and geotechnical engineers to identify rock types, mineral resources, and the stability of the terrain, and should be the starting point for all excavation and ongoing extraction plans. Quality, high resolution 3D highwall data, however, can be difficult to obtain.
Sean Gibson, Survey and Engineering Technician at Teck Resources, discusses how he's been able to use drone-based capture to get the best results for his team of geologists and geotechnical engineers.
Until recently, getting the high resolution, positionally accurate (down to centimeters) data required the use of terrestrial laser scanners. And, even then, due to the nature of LiDAR capture, you aren't always guaranteed to get the high fidelity scans needed.
According to one Business Improvement Lead at a global mining company, “The laser scanner requires greater technical skill and can still leave shadows and blank spots in the point cloud. This, in addition to the cost of operations, limits how often the scanners get used.”
"The laser scanner requires greater technical skill and can still leave shadows and blank spots in the point cloud."
In addition, laser scanners require the surveyor to get up close to the highwall which can be extremely dangerous. In some cases, it is even prohibited by the employer. With drones, surveyors can stay out of harm's way to capture geotagged images that can be turned into 3D point clouds.
With the right combination of drone-based capabilities, built specifically for accurate, high resolution highwall scanning, capture becomes more accessible. Areas that couldn’t previously be mapped by surveyors can now be charted by drones, on a more regular basis, and from a multitude of angles, too.
With the right combination of drone-based capabilities built specifically for accurate, high resolution highwall scanning, capture becomes more accessible.
To learn more, check out the webinar above "The Art and Science of Highwall Scanning." And, if you want to talk more about drone-based highwall scanning, be sure to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.