Geotechnical analysis for safer mining

Maptek I-Site technology helps improve safety by reducing the amount of time spent underground and enhancing identification of risk.

Nothing is more important in underground mining than safety. Fast, accurate survey techniques allow surveyors and geotechnical engineers to efficiently capture data in the hazardous underground environment.

Maptek I-Site laser scanners are designed for underground survey applications. The 125° vertical angular scanning range allows overhead data capture. A carbon-fibre boom mount extends the scanner safely into voids for stope survey.

Accurate mapping

A single point cloud from a standard three-minute scan comprises about 1.5 million points. With extremely fine point accuracy, all of the detail required for accurate geotechnical mapping is collected.

Point cloud data is modelled in I-Site Studio software with intuitive geotechnical mapping tools for applying data to critical applications such as rock bolt identification and joint studies. The information is ideal for use in rock mass classification systems such as GSI (Geological Strength Index), RMR (Rock Mass Rating) and Q-System (rock tunnelling quality).

High resolution laser scans collect even more detailed data for geological mapping and volume calculations.

Streamlined I-Site Studio workflows guide users to select, crop and clear relevant scan data instantly. Filtering points by minimum separation is an effective step for creating a complex 3D surface that retains a high level of detail.


Geotechnical discontinuities can be automatically extracted for easy stereonet generation. Stereonets provide for clear identification of sets of discontinuities that present a potential risk.

Joint numbers can be calculated to apply to Q-System and RMR, and users can view whether joints are favourable or unfavourable in relation to the direction of underground drives and reconcile these against the mine design.

Selecting discontinuities on a stereonet highlights them for viewing in the 3D window for easier identification. Simple drag-drop of data into the discontinuity spacing panel allows users to calculate joint spacing. Maximum, minimum, mean and standard deviation can be reported for GSI and RMR application.

The joint spacing tool displays the 3D measurement lines for application in GSI and RMR. Discontinuity spacing data can be exported as multiple file types for mine design and planning.

Users can calculate wedge volumes by mapping the extents of intersecting discontinuities which pose potential wedge failure risk.

Modelling discontinuity solids allows geotechnical engineers to calculate the weight and likelihood of a block’s gravitational fallout by analysing its planes in a stereonet.

Rock bolt analysis

Rock bolts can be digitised directly on the laser scans. Users can view the orientation and penetration of bolts into hanging walls by generating and translating lines. Comparison with discontinuities helps visualise rock bolt effectiveness in 3D.

Scan data can be used to reconcile rock bolt distribution and extrapolation against rock tunnelling standards, and check whether joint spacing conforms with legislation.

A unique waviness tool allows users to easily calculate the level of undulation for RMR. The discontinuity projection tool helps visualise how a discontinuity can potentially affect other areas of the mine, providing guidance for predicting ground conditions.


Identifying and monitoring areas subject to high stress is critical for preventative safety measures. Users can analyse spalling rate over time by comparing scans; colouring by distance can reveal effects of significant stresses as bulging or movement.

Laser scan data is also very effective for monitoring the progress of stopes and the impact of drill and blast activity. Potential dilution or structural changes can be easily identified.

Deformation in key working areas, such as around crushers or workshops, can be monitored using the Maptek Sentry system. Alerts and thresholds can be set to allow decisions to be made around remedial action.

Laser scan data and intuitive software provide an unbeatable solution for assessing geotechnical risk to support safe operational decisions underground.

Forge Home

  • Applications & benefits
  • Automatically extract discontinuities from laser scans
  • Measure discontinuity spacing, calculate waviness, create discontinuity solids
  • Reconcile rock bolt distribution
  • Create 3D linked stereonets and rose diagrams
  • Perform interactive kinematic analysis
  • Measure block dimensions and calculate volumes
  • Identify and map tension cracks, scarps and fissures
  • Monitor deformation in key areas