3D tunnel mapping has revolutionized the way mine surveying is done.
In order to keep up-to-date on exactly what is going on in an underground operation, mine engineers often survey the inside of mine tunnels. In the past, this was done by means of several, primarily manual, surveying techniques.
The development of advanced 3D tunnel mapping techniques over the last few years has, however, revolutionized the way mine operators gather data about the status of operations within mine tunnels.
Scanners used to perform 3D tunnel mapping typically use lasers to create vast numbers of data points. This information is then assimilated and used to create a realistic 3D virtual model (also called a data point cloud) that shows the inside of all mine tunnels, including all key features and equipment.
Because this data can be easily transmitted to any networked PC, mine engineers are able to quickly assess the status of tunnels right from the comfort of their offices. If required, the data can even be sent to an engineer or the mine owner / operator in a remote, off-site location.
Some common uses of 3D tunnel mapping are:
- Checking the progress and status of new excavations at the end of or within tunnels
- Accurately determining the exact location of geotechnical features inside the tunnel
- Checking the location and status of mine infrastructure and equipment present inside tunnels
- Using regular scans to calculate the volume of drift that has been removed from the underground workings over a specified timeframe
The recent development of mobile mine scanners like the uGPS Rapid Mapper™ has made 3D tunnel mapping even more efficient. These units can scan on the move (e.g. while mounted to an RTV or other mine vehicle) and still deliver data with accuracy levels comparable to static scanners that are much slower to operate.