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Posted May 28, 2020 by Amber Jackson

Drone technology: working with surveyors, not against them

A common misconception among mine surveyors is that drone technology will take over their jobs and leave them out of work. However, this is not the case. Drone technology can be a powerful operational asset in the surveyor’s arsenal and here are four key benefits that surveyors can incur by implementing drone technology in their operation:

1) Data Accuracy

Using drone data, surveyors can achieve greater accuracies over larger areas of a project in a far timelier manner compared to manual surveying methods.

For example, with a total station, surveyors are only able to measure individual points but with the imagery collected from one drone flight, surveyors can collect thousands of geo-referenced data points. These data points can then be converted into a variety of formats including orthomosaics, point clouds, contour lines, digital terrain models (DTM), digital surface models (DSM) and much more.

Drone data also allows surveyors to precisely monitoring the ever-changing features of mines and receive accurate daily updates on stockpiles, stacks, open pits, tailings dams and much more – ensuring better oversight.

Once drone data has been collected it serves as a permanent record of that area at that point in time, helping reduce subjective data interpretation. This enables surveyors to make accurate measurements and enhance their reporting with datasets that are of the highest standards of accuracy and quality, affording surveyors peace of mine.

2) Reduced Costs

Drones help surveyors significantly reduce costs by enabling predictive analysis. This is achieved by overlaying several datasets collected from multiple flights to create a trend analysis over time, helping surveyors make educated forecasts and mitigate against potential risks. This in turn allows surveyors to decrease the rate of downstream issues and save on unexpected failure costs.

Moreover, drones allow surveyors to make their data go further as it can be used for an array of mining activities, reducing the costs associated with multiple data collections.

For example, Rocketmine – a leader in drone data acquisition, uses drones to capture detailed photogrammetric data that empowers surveyors with the information they need to manage stockpiles better, monitor quarries more effectively, improve operational planning, conduct pre and post blast monitoring, perform high-wall mapping and detect tailings dam leaks.

3) Time Saving

An additional constraint surveyors face is that traditional methods are laborious and time-consuming. Drones help to remove the menial work associated with certain surveying activities, enabling surveyors to focus their time and attention on data interpretation – which is truly the specialist part of surveying.

4) New Skills

Lastly, drone data enables surveyors to upskill. Being able to accurately interpret drone data empowers surveyors with a new tool and skillset which makes surveyors more valuable to their department and their company.

The Final Word

Drones help surveyors achieve improved data accuracies over larger areas in shorter timeframes, reduce costs, and enable surveyors to upskill when it comes data interpretation. Ultimately, the use of drones works in partnership with surveyors not against them, providing a comprehensive dataset which can be confidently rely on to conduct precise and error free volumetric calculations and reporting. Therefore, don’t waste a minute worrying about whether drones will take your job; take the chance to enhance your career and productivity today.

Contact Rocketmine

If you are looking to incorporate drones into your mining operation contact Rocketmine today! Our Business Development Experts are available on hello@rocketmine.com.

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