Digital Terrain Mapping with Drones.

Using drones for terrain mapping has the capability to calculate the location every key point pixel in 3D space with a high degree of accuracy. This creates a point could that can be used to model the terrain of an area in 3D. This can be used in a wide range of applications to calculate stockpile volumes, monitor erosion, calculate overland flow rates, identify watersheds, and calculate area and surface area quickly and accurately.

Below are descriptions of how terrain modelling can be applied.

Overland flow.

In harsh and variable environments, it is important for land managers to understand how water moves through their land in order to inform key decisions with regard to managing their water resources. Knowing where water falls, catches, flows to, discharges, and in what volumes is key in whole farm planning and land management. Drone technology and intelligent analysis techniques can deliver this information at a price that is accessible to all land managers.


Being able to safely assess with a high degree of accuracy the volumes of resources in stockpiles at any given time helps resource managers monitor stock more effectively. Using drones, you can within only a few moments, accurately make volume, surface area and area measurements, without having surveyors in the pit or interrupting operations.

Only a small fraction of the man hours and cost is associated with the use of drone in comparison to traditional terrestrial survey methods.

Short-term planning

·   Pit & dump management

·   Communication of daily/weekly mining plans

·   Haul route surface optimisation

·   Storm damage assessment & control

Long-term planning

·   Haul road, dump and pit design

·   Geotechnical

·   Surface stability monitoring

·   Joint mapping

·   Control for mining in void areas

·   Mapping of steep inaccessible inclines

Drill & blast

·   Up-to-date surfaces for optimised blast designs

·   Pre- & post-blast data

·   Identification of misfires & wall damage


·   Stock pile management

·   Grade control & exploration planning


·   Drainage and water management

·   Watershed, drainage basin & water flow mapping

·   Thermal detection of ground water inflows

·   Tailings dam management


·   Feasibility studies

·   Leach pad, dam wall & platform construction quality control

·   Progress monitoring & reporting

Mineral exploration

·   Resource calculation

·   Geophysical & watershed/catchment area modelling

·   Supporting photography (land usage, SEIA etc.)

Heritage & environmental management

·  Reporting

·  Erosion detection

·  Vegetation change tracking

·  Inundation tracking

·  Slurry pipeline stability & leakage detection

·  Game counting

·  Surrounding community mapping


·  Cadastre

·  Property rights definition

·  Change detection

·  Security

·  Incident evidence capture

·  Corridor & boundary surveillance


·  Community relations/marketing

·  Impact reporting

·  Oblique imagery


·  Conveyor belt inspection (thermal)

·  Erosion Monitoring