Many of the uGPS Rapid Mapper™ mobile 3D underground laser scanners already in use in mines around the world are capable of performing mobile convergence monitoring while attached to a vehicle (e.g. an ATV) that is driven through the mine by a personnel member. In certain cases, this can represent significant savings in both time and resources over traditional convergence monitoring practices, which can require mine personnel to install sensors, take manual measurements, or in some cases, make use of a static (tripod-mounted) scanner that must be manually moved and set up with a long, and manual, processing time.
Mobility, speed of data-gathering and automated processing, and ease-of-use mean that in most cases, a single person can perform a comprehensive scan in a short space of time, rather than several people (or even an entire work crew) being tied up for long periods.
This efficiency gain has major implications from a productivity and cost point of view, and it also has the important effect of removing more people from areas being scanned and reducing risk, especially where the mobile convergence monitoring scanning is being performed in a sensitive area.
However, it’s still possible to go a step further with this process. Mobile 3D scanners being used underground for mobile convergence monitoring can be mounted on unmanned, remote-controlled vehicles that are then sent deep into high-risk, potentially unstable areas of a mine, removing the need for unnecessary human exposure to hazardous situations.
A scanner can be mounted onto a dedicated unmanned vehicle, e.g. one that is acquired specifically for the purpose of moving a scanner around to perform regular, ongoing mobile convergence monitoring, or added to an existing vehicle that is already being sent into the mine, e.g. remote-controlled units that are increasingly being used to transport cameras, gas analysis equipment, emergency supplies etc. after a geotechnical event.