Putting UAV Stockpile Analysis to the Test

Written by Alyssa Burley.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are quickly becoming a necessary tool used to gather data on stockpiles and terrain for the mining industry.  

In the February 2014 article, “Putting Stock in Your Survey,” published in Geoconnexion International Magazine, a United Kingdom-based media outlet covering geotechnology industries, compares the use of UAVs to more traditional Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) for stockpile evaluations.

The authors of the article concluded “UAV photogrammetry is unmatched in terms of efficiency for surfaces above several hectares all the while producing equivalent accuracy” to LIDAR.  They also determined, “using the UAV surveying method not only produces a [Digital Surface Model] but also a geo-referenced, highly detailed orthophoto – an important added-value for stockpile site documentation.”   

According to the research, UAVs offer the accuracy of traditional LIDAR with the added benefits of digital surface models, high resolution orthophotos and quick turnaround times.  

“The use of a UAV has enabled us to provide our clients with accurate data, and faster turnaround times than conventional methods, at a competitive price.  Our clients prefer the UAV method of data collection over LIDAR due to its efficiency and diverse suite of products,” said James DeCarolis, a UAV pilot, and GIS and AutoCAD Specialist for EnviroMINE, Inc.

In short, the use of UAVs to calculate stockpile inventories and map terrain is currently the best option for the mining industry when looking at accuracy, turnaround times, cost, digital surface models, and high resolution orthophotos.  

Call James DeCarolis at (619) 284-8515 for more information about stockpile inventories, digital surface models, high resolution orthophotos and other products.

Alyssa Burley is the Community Outreach and Marketing Manager at EnviroMINE, Inc.