3D mapping of underground mines is becoming more and more commonplace, as this practice makes it easy to perform convergence monitoring, better manage production and stockpiles, confirm equipment location and status, and complete a variety of other safety and production management tasks.
Automated mobile mapping performed using a uGPS Rapid Mapper™ 3D mobile mine scanner that is purpose-built for this task yields a number of benefits over the use of more traditional fixed scanning systems, including:
- Speed. Because scans are done automatically while the vehicle on which the scanner is located moves through the mine at speeds of up to 15 km/h, results are produced rapidly with no unnecessary delays, e.g. while scanning equipment is assembled, used, disassembled, moved and reassembled.
- Simplicity. The scanner is so easy to use that an existing mine employee can be trained to use it within minutes. Performing actual scans requires no input from the person operating the vehicle, other than to switch the scanner on and off at the end of each scanning run.
- Safety. With only a single employee required to perform the scans, who would already be moving around the mine anyway, no extra safety hazard is created – as would be the case if a whole team of outside operators, unfamiliar with the individual mine, were brought in to perform scans over an extended period.
- Accuracy. This mobile scanner is capable of producing dense 3D point cloud data on the fly, at accuracy rates comparable to the best fixed (e.g. tripod-mounted) scanning equipment, and definitely with sufficient accuracy for convergence monitoring and other similar applications.
- No disruptions. Because the scanner is usually used while attached to an existing mine vehicle that would already be moving around the mine anyway, scanning exercises do not cause production or other delays or obstruct mine activities by placing equipment and people in the way.