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Drones have quickly shown their beneficial use cases in the mining and aggregate industry. At a high level, drones in mining improve the overall efficiency of large mine site and quarry management by providing accurate and comprehensive data detailing site conditions in a very short time. They also support better coordination among teams onsite and at the office, offering dynamic oversight of all operations. Most importantly, this data is captured safely, preventing workers from going into potentially hazardous environments.
The benefits of using this technology can be seen throughout the entire mining process. The data that drones capture can also assist in stockpile management, offering better inventory and financial data. Since drones can capture data so quickly, data can be collected more frequently — as often as monthly or even weekly — without increasing costs.
Mines and quarries can also participate in better monitoring and operational planning as a result of this technology. Drones have also made it easier to track data before and after drilling or blasting occurs, offering highly accurate digital surface models or 3D recreations of the site. There are a variety of deliverables that can be produced such as orthomosaic maps (used for distance and surface measurements), 3D point clouds, digital terrain models (DTM), or 3D textured mesh maps.
In the end, drones are able to take highly accurate measurements (centimeter level accuracy), they allow for faster and easily repeatable surveys at a low cost, and keep workers safer and improve overall site management.