Digital, 3D mapping of underground mines is becoming an increasingly common practice, due to the many benefits it provides to mine managers and engineers, including the ability to visualize parts of the mine without the need for unnecessary trips underground. Aside from their value as a visualization tool, 3D mine maps can also prove invaluable to search and rescue crews responding to an incident as they show the exact structure of each section of the mine, as well as the location of features and equipment, and allow the rescuers to visualize what to expect as they move. Also, as we move into a future that is likely to include more automation in mining, e.g. autonomous vehicles and machinery, AI, robotics, etc., accurate 3D maps and the point cloud data on which they are based will be a valuable source of information and reference material for intelligent machinery.
However, mine mapping does have a few drawbacks. For it to be truly effective, mapping must be performed regularly so that results reflect the current situation, and to build a record of changes in the mine over time. Regular mapping operations can be very time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially if they are performed using traditional static (often tripod-mounted) scanners, and the crews performing the scanning can get in the way of miners, leading to disrupted production and the risk or injury.
A better solution is to practice automated mobile mapping by making use of the uGPS Rapid Mapper™ 3D mobile mine scanner, purpose-built, robust unit that is simple to use (just switch it on) and efficient. Generating accurate, dense, 3D point cloud data for mapping and modeling purposes is as simple as attaching the scanner to a mine vehicle and taking a drive down the tunnels. It will gather data as you go.