Technology is evolving. Efficiency is improving. Risks are reduced. Times are changing.

The latest mapping technologies available include the use of UAVs, the creation of photorealistic and geographically accurate 3D models from photogrammetry and augmented reality solutions are slowly but surely changing the Australian mining industry. Companies who decide to take the challenging but rewarding step to embrace the future enjoy a competitive advantage in term of communication, productivity and decision-making processes.

In a world of global competition, companies cannot afford to be left behind and investing in spinning technologies is part of the winning process. Even conservative mining companies will have to eventually switch to new management and production techniques to stay in the race.

Along with highly accurate but expensive ground-laser scanner technology, automated process and state-of-the-art photogrammetry techniques, provides mining companies with new 3D products which are visually attractive, highly accurate and up-to-date.  Complex issues can now be explained  to internal and external clients in a very intuitive manner and by consequence the marketing performances of these companies can be significantly improved and public consultations messages greatly enhanced. Meanwhile projects requiring highly accurate and frequent updates also fully benefit from the use of photogrammetric products and services derived from UAV systems and 3D modeling services such as aero3Dpro.

 Photorealistic and geographically accurate 3D models of mining sites

aero3Dpro brings a whole new non-invasive, quick and cost-effective approach of monitoring and visualizing open-cut mining and quarry sites by using advanced aerial photogrammetry techniques to reconstruct complete 3D models and interactive 3D GIS tools for improved decision-making. These models are generated from specific aerial imaging system to derive high quality 3D information in a very timely manner.

Integrated into an interactive viewing platform, users can immerse themselves into a virtual but accurate and photorealistic representation of their mining site to communicate complex information in a more accessible way.  It is now possible to interact with, visualize and analyse any elements of the site from virtually any location.

In addition to 3D models for visualisation and simulation purpose, 3D change-detection and volume calculation can also be extracted from aero3Dpro models.


UAV systems for the Australian mining industry

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle systems can be used for a wide range of mining applications depending on the type of sensor and size of the platform. Medium UAV system such as the RQ-84Z Areohawk from Hawkeye UAV is the perfect solution to high frequency mapping over mine sites up to 10 sq km. Equipped with an advanced autopilot and efficient recovery system , this easy to operate UAV is becoming a premium aerial acquisition system choice for mining companies.


Example of full orthomosaic and digital terrain model generate from the RQ-84Z Hawkeye UAV

The main advantages are:

  • a low environment footprint (electric motor)
  • fully automated flight operations
  • non-intrusive
  • cost-effective solution due to fast and easy setup, launch and operation
  • parachute recovery
  • high-quality photogrammetry products and services
  • 3D model extraction

Fully textured 3D model and visible TIN of a mine site generate with the RQ-84Z Areohawk UAV system

The main photogrammetric products and services delivered to Australian mining companies include:

  • high-resolution ortho-mosaic
  • change-detection and time-series ortho-mosaic up to a daily revisit
  • digital surface/terrain models and contours
  • accurate stockpile and volume calculation


 RQ-84Z AeroHawk UAV system at hte end of a mapping mission.

RQ-84Z AreoHawk UAV system at the end of a mapping mission.



Volume difference between two acquisitions over an open-cut mine.


See a more general article about photogrammetry and mining here.