Geo Week News

August 5, 2013

Augmented reality reaches mining industry


Maptek’s PerfectDig software compares ongoing excavation with 3D mine design plans for conformance

Maptek Pty Ltd. has introduced one of the first augmented reality applications for mining, allowing operators to use handheld devices to rapidly compare laser scanned surface data during excavation against 3D mine plan designs for conformance in the field.

South Australia-based Maptek, with U.S. operations in Lakewood, Colo., said its new PerfectDig software streamlines communication between surveyors, mining engineers and equipment operators, so excavation adjustments can be made for efficient removal of overburden, the soil and other material on top of the bedrock, and optimal mineral recovery.


So how does it work? A Maptek I-Site laser scanner captures surface data while mining continues. PerfectDig automatically registers the scan data against the 3D design of mine plans imported from Maptek’s Vulcan mining software for comparison.

PerfectDig users can then access the 3D visual and spatial analysis comparison in less than 10 minutes on a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Different overlays can be selected for display – including layers, depths, overdig or underdig with volumes and measurements – allowing operators to view detailed sections, photos, volumes, and other data.

Operators, using specified tolerances, can then assess the degree of conformance to the 3D design plan and adjust the excavation and update the design, according to Maptek.

Overlays detailing conformance to design plan parameters are then made available via secure online server to off-site production operators, pit designers, and managers.

Maptek said the safety benefits of PerfectDig include significantly less need to access working areas by foot for survey and set out of planned works.

“PerfectDig makes it easy to quickly review critical data in the field and act in a timely manner to keep mining operations on track,” said Peter Johnson, general manager for Maptek in Australia. “Without PerfectDig, the information to achieve this is either not available, or requires a lot of effort and time to prepare and is presented too late for effective decision making.”

Maptek said it tested PerfectDig through extensive field trials at major Australian mines. “The advantages of PerfectDig were immediately apparent,” Johnson said.

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