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Underground

4D Visualisation of Exploration & Mine Data

Underground » Geology

Published: June 00Project Number: C8015

Get ReportAuthor: Guy LeBlanc Smith, Con Caris, Gil Carter | CSIRO Exploration & Mining

This project has successfully addressed one of ACARP's research priorities for techniques that aid in the prediction of mining conditions and geological disturbance of coal seams particularly for longwall mining.   The objective of this project was to demonstrate an interactive, 4D computer visualisation communications technique that integrates drilling, 3D-seismic, geology, and pit-layout data for assessment, and prediction and communication of mining conditions and geological disturbance of coal in an underground mine.

This project extended the research developed by CSIRO in visualisation technology.  ACARP C5026 project first demonstrated this communication tool concept on SGI UNIX workstations. This project has improved transfer and utilisation of all types of geological, structural, geophysical and mining data. It takes advantage of low-cost and interactive Internet-based technology that permits 4D-visualisation of exploration, mine planning and monitoring data. The value to industry is faster and more comprehensive delivery of information for decision-making, and potentially reducing delays and accidents on a sustained basis.

The Virtual Reality (VR) techniques demonstrated by this project run on low-cost but powerful graphics PCs and SGI UNIX workstations that present the user with the same graphical interface. Freely available Internet technology, ISO standard Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) and Java programming are used to deliver the multi-dimensional models securely across the Internet. This technology has been given the informal name "CSIRO Virtual Mine". Virtual Mine models do require specialist skills to construct, but once built are very easy to use with a learning time of approximately 30 minutes for a novice to achieve competent user status. A user can easily select the mix of items for display and navigate through these 3D synthetic mine worlds using a mouse. Current costs are under $10 000 per user seat for the equipment with appropriate Internet display software. The use of the Virtual Mine technology is demonstrated in a variety of models, video displays and support information in an attached CD.

Additional information can be found at http://www.em.csiro.au/em/capabilities/threedimensionalvisualisation/index.html .

This project demonstrates the integration of the diverse data types using the Goonyella Punch Longwall site made available by BHP Coal Pty Ltd (Figure 1). Interactive 4D models containing chock leg-pressure data and microseismic monitoring over time were developed and tested on data supplied by BHP Coal Pty Ltd (Appin Colliery Figure 2) and Capricorn Coal Management Pty Ltd (Southern Colliery). Data are displayed at their true scale as images and symbolic representations and include: mine plans, integrated topographic and airphoto information, 3D highwall imaging, surface borehole data, geophysical logs, geological structure, rock-type and distribution data, comprehensive 3D reflection seismic data, aeromagnetic data and cultural data. Attribute-linked colouring and translucency allow for various aspects of the data to be highlighted in both a space and time context. The Virtual Mine system is also capable of accessing local and remote databases on the Internet that store data sets such as mine reports, statistics, tables and 3D spatial information. Through such integration it is possible for mine staff to better understand and interpret their geological and mine data, to evaluate the risk for various mining scenarios, and to communicate this effectively to management. This approach to geological and mining data highlights areas where knowledge is limited and inconsistent, and can be used to show where conditions are hazardous. At the same time it demonstrates an effective visual means to share this information.

A true appreciation of the advances made within this important project, will only be gained by working through the demonstrations on the CD that also contains the final report.

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