Wednesday, July 6, 2016

3D Laser Scanning - Underground Mine Mapping

LiDAR (light detecting and ranging) has been a great tool for visualizing earth surfaces. Dave Montgomery, a geomorphologist at the University of Washington has described LiDAR as "like having a new pair of glasses". You do not have to be a geologist to recognize large landslide complexes or even fault line ruptures on the earth surface.

But LiDAR techniques are more widespread than bare earth images. Ground based mobile LiDAR units are being used to map out 3D images for urban planning. This type of LiDAR 3D imagery is being applied to underground mines. 

Large underground mines can be a bit intimidating in a large part because it is easy to get disoriented. Most of my time in underground mines were one or two day ventures with guidance provided by the mine geologist or engineer.  With the LiDAR mapping of the mine and computer generated 3D image, one could carry a 3D map of the mine on a small tablet. A big change from the past.


Anonymous said...

Are they doing this from the surface, or taking the device into the mines? If the former, how far into the ground can it penetrate? Reason I'm asking is there are some places riddled with unsuspected mines, or lava tubes, or karst--sinkholes waiting to happen. Finding them now could save someone's life.
Great blog, BTW.

Dan McShane said...

No this is done by running the mobile unit though the mine. There are geophysical methods that can help locate or assess the underground hazards you mention.