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The development of mobile applications for Smart Data Capture in mining

Prishalan Naidoo
Thursday, June 6, 2019
First presented: 
SAIMM | New Technology 2019
Date: Day 2 - Thursday | 06 June
Time: 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

The mining industry is in a constant state of flux with ever evolving methodologies and technology, however, due to financial constraints and tighter budgets, a smaller piece of the pie is allocated towards R&D with the majority investment used to keep companies a float. Companies are now forced to place a larger emphasis on streamlining day to day tasks. This abstract is focused on streamlining the process of data capturing and data collection with particularly emphasis on geotechnical window mapping and core logging.

Geotechnical window mapping describes an exposed surface with the intention of characterising the rock mass and identifying critical features such as joints or structures within the rock mass. Core logging is the recording and measuring of as much information as required to determine lithology, mineralogy, structure and alteration etc., on a piece of cylindrical rock drilled. The intension of both systems is to better understand the prevailing rock mass conditions with the results input into 3D models to create mine plans and guide decision making.

The procedure for data capture and data collection varies from quick visual assessments/estimations, used for reviews or due diligence, to detailed measurements and data collection, based on the required application. Currently data is collected in notebooks or mapping forms that requires capturing at a later stage.

To address the issues identified with the current methods of geotechnical window mapping and corelogging, and by incorporating the concept of smart data capture into the development of SurfaceMAP and CoreLOG. SurfaceMAP and CoreLOG are mobile and web applications developed in house at SRK Consulting. The applications allow a user to efficiently capture and record data through a series of easy to use dropdown lists on the individual’s Android/IOS smartphone. The smartphone camera is used to capture images for identification at a later stage and the position of the image is determined using GPS. The user can then manually annotate joints or structures directly onto the captured image. The collected data is then automatically synced to a spreadsheet on the cloud for ease of access, and safekeeping. An easy to use dynamic dashboard visually displays all the captured information immediately after capturing. Once trials are complete the system will be expanded to include other detailed data measurements.

With the adoption of smart data capture and data collection, the methods of mapping and.logging.on paper will be a thing of the past. Users will be able to make informed decisions in the pit or underground, based on historic and current data which is easily accessible due to cloud storage. Decisions further validated with the use of images and user annotations, which provides a good source of quality control and consistency in data capture. These are just two examples of areas.within mining that can be improved by the application of smart data capture. By utilising the available technologies, users are able to make smarter more informed decisions, quicker and more cost effectively by reducing the time spent on data collection. The applications for smart data capture are endless.


Prishalan Naidoo

Prishalan Naidoo | Civil Geotechnical Engineer | SRK Consulting | Johannesburg | South Africa.

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