Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Mobile 3D Scanning Product for Your Mine

Underground ScannerThe introduction of the uGPS Rapid Mapper™ by Peck Tech Consulting Ltd. unlocked a new realm of opportunities for the underground mining industry. This product’s capacity for mobile 3D scanning is unmatched in its ease of use, reliability and overall value– not all mine scanners are created equal!

It is important to properly evaluate any mine scanner before choosing which one to use in your mining operations. With this in mind, we present to you the top 10 questions you should ask when evaluating a mobile 3D scanning product, along with our responses:


1. Who am I buying the product from? Are they a trusted and reputable distributor? Do they have regional support infrastructure?

The 3 most important considerations before purchasing any mining technology are: support, support and support. The uGPS Rapid Mapper™ is backed by a trusted network of distributors who are expert users of the system and centrally located in many major mining districts. Behind the front lines, rest assured that Peck Tech’s dedicated team of uGPS experts are always available to provide customized, site-specific support to our valued customers. Not that you’ll need it- support calls are rare, due to the uGPS Rapid Mapper™’s rugged design, robust build and high reliability.


2. How robust is the unit?

When it comes to the design of underground mine scanners, simpler is better. For example, exposed moving parts that can easily be damaged or jam during use have adverse effects on availability and reliability. The uGPS Rapid Mapper™ has been specifically designed for ruggedness, reliability and maintainability – it features a durable steel casing, meets the IP67 standard for ingress protection, comprises many off-the-shelf parts that are easy to replace and has no exposed moving parts that could get damaged or jammed while operating in harsh underground environments.


3. Is the scanner purpose-built for underground mining, or was it originally designed for another application/market?

The uGPS Rapid Mapper™ was designed specifically for use in underground mines and developed with an industry partner. Every aspect of its design and construction is focused on real-world mining applications, requirements and challenges. It is rugged, lightweight, portable and vehicle-agnostic.


4. Will I have total ownership of the data?

Of course! Our customers collect, process and analyze their own data. No ‘behind the scenes’ activity is required, or as we like to call it, ‘voodoo science’! However, we are always here to provide help and support along the way.


5. Is any special lighting required when using the scanner?

No lighting is required. Bright and/or strobe lighting can be distracting and therefore hazardous in underground mining environments. Such lighting also requires higher voltages than are readily available from a standard vehicle battery, which adds further complexity in mounting and installation. Again: simpler is better!


6. Is the scanner unit a one-time investment, or are there ongoing service and/or data processing fees?

Purchasing the uGPS Rapid Mapper™ is a once-off investment. There are no additional or hidden charges for its ongoing use or data processing. However, we do offer an optional Customer Care Agreement (CCA) on an annual subscription basis, which is designed to keep your uGPS Rapid Mapper™ in best working order and to derive maximum value from its use.


7. How easily can the scanning unit be unpacked, set up and used (i.e. is any specialized equipment or training required)?

The uGPS Rapid Mapper™ is simple to install and operate. You can start scanning in minutes, right out of the box. Just about anyone can learn to use the scanner with only minimal training. No specialized equipment is required to use the scanner; it is a stand-alone product and can be easily mounted to any mine vehicle. It requires only one cable (power) and is controlled via any standard web interface (laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.).


8. How quickly can the scanner generate and process data?

The uGPS Rapid Mapper™ can be mounted on virtually any vehicle (ATVs, tractors, mine ‘mules’, locomotives, LHDs, etc.) and collects 3D data at normal driving speeds. In open-loop mode, maximum drift error is typically 2%, and in many cases, 1%. In closed-loop mode, output point clouds are georeferenced to mine site coordinates, and drift error is bounded for even more accurate results.


9. How big are the data files that the scanner generates?

We understand that the value of any sensor is not in the data it produces, but in the information extracted from this data. Large file sizes are cumbersome and time-consuming for data transfer and processing. Data files generated by the uGPS Rapid Mapper™ are of a reasonable size compared to many other scanners on the market (approximately 50 MB per km at 5 km/h), and useful for a wide range of value-add applications.


10. How does the accuracy and speed of a mobile 3D mine scanner compare to that of a stationary scanner? Which is right for me?

In real world mining conditions, the uGPS Rapid Mapper™ scanners have been proven to collect data up to 50 times faster than stationary (tripod-mounted) scanners, at comparable accuracies for volume calculations.