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Anyone using drones in a quarry or stockyard?

aerialprospex

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Looking for some first-hand experience from someone who has or currently is using a drone in a quarry/stockyard.

What role does the drone play in the operation of the quarry? -OR- What deliverables have your clients been asking for? If you are working as a subcontractor to an aggregate company, what is your relationship like with your client? What do they expect from you?

Thanks, everyone!
 

wl7cps

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I've been using various drones for workplace inspections required by MSHA, they have either crashed or disappeared, so I just obtained a Skydio2, which has all around obstacle avoidance. Even the cheap drones are useful for idenyifying ground movement. Placement of monitoring devices after tension cracks form on crests of highwall is dangerous, so I've been using iWitness photogrammetric software with ground control panels and PCI geomatica for temporal measurement of movements.
I intend to try using the Skydio2 for orthomapping, DTM generation for estimates of volume of cut and fill specifically to estimate swell and monitor angle of repose, and also vegetation regrowth in reclaimed areas.
 

aerialprospex

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Could you elaborate more on inspections for MSHA compliance? What exactly do you need to look out for and how does the drone help do this?

Side note: Beware of the rolling shutter on the Skydio2 for mapping and DTM generation.
 

wl7cps

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Could you elaborate more on inspections for MSHA compliance? What exactly do you need to look out for and how does the drone help do this?

Side note: Beware of the rolling shutter on the Skydio2 for mapping and DTM generation.
MSHA 56/57.18002 Examination of working places.
(a) A competent person designated by the operator shall examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions which may adversely affect safety of health. The operator shall promptly initiate appropriate action to correct such conditions
.

As the mine designated competent person, I inspect daily for changes in slope stability of stockpiles, highwalls, pits, ponds, dams, ditches, buildings, electrical lines, signage, buildings, roads, berms, maintenance sites, equipment parking, out-of-service yards, barricaded areas, security gated entries, fences, etc. I use a drone for inspections where it is unsafe to be a pedestrian around mine machinery where access is hazardous such as the load / dump and haul traffic routes, in areas where non-routine inspection makes sense such as ponds, dams and outlets, electrical installations, radio repeaters, towers, and inspection of areas where miners are not working. The drone adds a new aerial perspective to work place examinations that a person on the ground sometimes misses.

As far as the Skydio2, it has real obstacle avoidance. For inspections it is the game changer....to inspect a haul route, including road conditions, signage, berms, drainage, loading and dumping sites, all you have to do is "lock" on a truck and the drone follows it. In the meantime, I monitor issues and progress and if the drone battery is low, it goes home and lands at its cage and the drawer closes to keep it safe and healthy! Nothing is simpler.
 

wl7cps

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Thank you for your comment about the rolling shutter used on the Sony camera. I didn't know about that. I guess I will have to continue to use survey grade ground control and my Olympus camera instead of the Skydio2 to estimate shrink and swill with iWitnessPro photogrammetry software. That maybe is why Skydio2 doesn't provide a autonomous gridding capability suitable for mapping terrain.
 

JustinR

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I use a Matrice 210 RTK V2 with an X4s camera and process in Pix4D Desktop for pit/quarry mapping. I work for a public agency and have been doing this for a few years now. I am able to produce aerial images, surface models, quanitities, contours...you name it. I'm also able to inspect for reclamation progress (reseeding), erosion, oil spills, etc. for permitting.
 
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aerialprospex

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I use a Matrice 210 RTK V2 with an X4s camera and process in Pix4D Desktop for pit/quarry mapping. I work for a public agency and have been doing this for a few years now. I am able to produce aerial images, surface models, quanitities, contours...you name it. I'm also able to inspect for reclamation progress (reseeding), erosion, oil spills, etc. for permitting.
For inspections, how does that work do you have to be certified (if so what certifications?) or do you just collect the images/data and hand it off to someone?
 

msquared

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I worked in the space for the past 8 years. There are many good solutions out there for a quarry. Stockpile Measurements, Blast Planning, Reserves, bench inspections, haul road maintenance, equipment inspections, etc. to name a few. Most buy a drone and use it for GIS work and maybe some stockpile measurements. I am a huge fan of the Skydio drones, but they are prosumer and don't do well against the DJI, eBEE, etc. The Skydio excels at flying indoors. We used them to measure stockpiles under roof and underground mines, etc. because the drone doesn't need GPS. However, the other side of the coin is that they also don't fly waypoints indoors and you have to manually fly them. The new commercial Skydio they built for the military looks promising. Happy to discuss further off thread.
 

Stiets

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I've been using various drones for workplace inspections required by MSHA, they have either crashed or disappeared, so I just obtained a Skydio2, which has all around obstacle avoidance. Even the cheap drones are useful for idenyifying ground movement. Placement of monitoring devices after tension cracks form on crests of highwall is dangerous, so I've been using iWitness photogrammetric software with ground control panels and PCI geomatica for temporal measurement of movements.
I intend to try using the Skydio2 for orthomapping, DTM generation for estimates of volume of cut and fill specifically to estimate swell and monitor angle of repose, and also vegetation regrowth in reclaimed areas.
How did the Skydio2 work for orthomapping and DTM generation? I currently have a PvP2 and interested in getting a Skydio2 to use for mapping when the site is not as friendly for the PvP2.
 

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