UAV Technology in Mining – Supporting Affordable, Accurate, 3D Volume Measurements

According to UAV software creator, Pix4D, an estimated half of the mining companies have enlisted the use of UAV technology to provide fast, accurate measurements. This from the company, “Nearly half of the biggest mining companies include Pix4Dmapper in their workflow, providing 2~5% of accuracy for their stockpile volume measurement.” Indeed more validation for our UAV Services Group, and in particular, their work with mining and mining industry related companies. Coincidentally, as we roll out this post our team is on the road measuring stockpile volumes! 

UAV data collection for mining industry

GEO Jobe UAV is active in the current season flying UAV missions, mapping, and performing GIS analysis based on precision, drone collected data for a number of industries (College campus planners, airports, local government, construction, commercial retail, etc…). However, an area of significant growth has been for mining clients and others requiring volume calculations on assets.

It’s not surprising that the mining industry has turned to drone photogrammetry solutions to provide horizontal and vertical measurements. In addition to the many traditional benefits of using UAV technology (low cost, speedy data collection, safety of workers, accuracy, flexible data deliverables…) there’s a number of reasons for mining companies to turn to UAV solution providers:

Half of the mining companies are already using UAV technology

  • Providing a solution to a challenging task of estimating, accurately, stockpile inventories
  • achieve measurement accuracies of around 2-5% for stockpile volumes
  • A photogrammetric survey with a fine ground sampling distance (GSD, which indicates the actual distance each pixel represents) is able to better describe irregular stockpiles in detail.
  • Horizontally, high-resolution photogrammetric results create more precise stockpile models, and thus better volume measurement accuracy
  • Vertically, they lower the uncertainty in Z values, which is proportional to the resolution.
  • Data are easily integrated into existing enterprise GIS
  • Supporting additional 3D data modeling, analysis and display/output
  • Accurate volume measurements and calculations

Our UAV solutions team has experience in mapping and collecting data from a variety of mining operations and various mine inventory scenarios. Typical data collection can be employed to obtain accurate measurements for standard stockpiles, ramp stockpiles, and bin stockpiles. See more examples of our recent UAV projects and deliverables HERE.

UAV Data collection for stockpile measurements
UAV Data collection for stockpile measurements in Texas (Photo: GEO Jobe UAV)
GEO Jobe UAV crew on site for volume measurements
GEO Jobe UAV crew on site for volume measurements

The drone based data acquisition and photogrammetric processing conducted by GEO Jobe is improving standard industrial mineral processing workflows by lowering costs, reducing operational downtime, and reducing workplace hazards – a significant change to the modern work environment. Jeff Lawrence, GEO Jobe UAV Business Development

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From our GEOPowered Cloud to custom solutions, GEO Jobe is committed to showing clients how geospatial thinking can guide them to save time, money, and make better business decisions. The power of GIS, Simplified!