The Evolution of Survey

Surveying has been constantly changing from the 1980s where EDMS (electronic distance meters) took over the survey industry, to now where surveyors push a button and can take a snapshot in time, as well as work more efficiently and accurately on routine tasks. 

It is hard to imagine how mine surveyors did their job even a short 15 years ago when I started.  The evolution of GPS has turned survey crews into survey persons, making the surveyors life easier and more productive.  GPS has evolved from a nice convenient system to something every surface mine must have.  It is now smaller, easier to use and, with way more satellites to choose from, more accurate. Surveying in the bottom of the pit no longer requires planning on the GPS consultation.

With the evolution of the product came the evolution of the clients. Now most surface mine surveyors cannot do their jobs without GPS; mines live and die by it.  Today mines do not simply have GPS for the surveyors, but drills, draglines, shovels, dozers, trucks and more, all of which have GPS systems to help the mine run more efficiently.

With GPS as the norm in surface mining operations, there is now a new trend in town following the same trends that GPS did 20 years ago.  When using laser scanners, surveyors can now capture millions of points in just one moment – a dramatic change from capturing one point with one click. Data points are being collected from everything within range, and all while keeping the surveyor out of harm’s way.

Laser scan technology is making surveying quicker, safer and more accurate.  Surveyors can survey areas more often, and survey that which was never able to be surveyed before.  These advancements are making engineers more effective in planning and design, on the most current and accurate representation of the field ever made possible.

Like GPS,  the clients that have taken the plunge and are using laser scanners cannot survey without them.  Reliability, durability, speed and accuracy are all factors that come with owning Maptek 8000 series scanners.  Surveyors become more productive, and the quality of the deliverable is much better than ever imagined.  The question is whether a company is able to think outside the box and make their surveying safer, faster and more accurate.

Some mines may not need the scanner full time, but with Maptek’s affordable consulting rates and rental options, any project can be scanned.  For more information check out “My Day with the I-Site 8800 LiDAR Scanner,” an article recently written by one of Maptek’s clients who rented the I-Site 8800 Scanner and shared his experience.

Scott Schiele
I-Site Technical Services Manager
March 12, 2012

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