Mine site planning and construction requires engineering quality topographic surveying. PhotoSat’s geophysicists apply deep learning and proprietary data processing technology to systematically produce elevation grids from stereo satellite photos that are accurate to better than 15 cm in elevation. 

PhotoSat can survey anywhere in the world

The high-resolution stereo satellites that PhotoSat uses for satellite surveying cover the entire world except a small area at each of the poles. Satellite surveying is an ideal choice for remote locations that are difficult for on-site engineers and surveyors to access.

Mine site safety and security are ensured

PhotoSat surveying is the only method that poses absolutely no mine site safety challenges. No on-site personnel presence is required, and there are no regulatory or licensing concerns. 

Satellite Surveying for Mine Development

PhotoSat surveys take mining projects from the Preliminary Economic Evaluation (PEA), through feasibility, and on to mine construction planning. Most of the world’s major mining engineering companies have successfully used PhotoSat surveys for all phases of mine development. PhotoSat has completed over 1200 surveys of mine sites and tailings storage facilities worldwide, providing the world’s most accurate satellite survey data.

Satellite surveying enables design engineering teams and Engineers of Record to independently confirm that earthworks constructions are consistent with designs. Mine operations engineers get regular snapshots of all aspects of the mine site including accurate volume measurements of all visible mine elements. PhotoSat’s high accuracy elevation data is used for mine feasibility studies, construction cut and fill volume calculations, reserve and resource estimates, drill hole planning, and project base mapping.

Benefits of satellite surveying include:

  • Reduced field risk for surveyors and surveying delays eliminated
  • Simplified elevation mapping in remote and hazardous areas
  • Reduced costs as an alternative to aerial LiDAR and ground surveying

Factors affecting satellite surveying accuracy and timing

The accuracy of PhotoSat’s surveys increases with the availability of ground control survey points. However, PhotoSat can conduct surveying using an initial process and reference system that does not rely on ground control points. This process is unique among mining project survey methods and enables us to detect errors in the ground survey data that are usually undetected by other survey methods.

The timing of the satellite photo acquisition depends on cloud cover and competition for access to the satellites. Areas up to 200 km2 being surveyed for the first time are usually delivered within two weeks of the satellite photo date. For repeat mine surveys, PhotoSat can usually deliver critical data within two days of the satellite pass, and the entire mine site survey within five days.

PhotoSat deliverables

PhotoSat’s unique processing system generates satellite survey data with accuracies better than 15 cm in elevation. PhotoSat’s satellite surveying package includes a 1 m elevation grid accurate to 20 cm in elevation, 50 cm or 1 m contours, and a 50 cm satellite ortho photo. Mining companies and engineers use this digital elevation data to accelerate mine site planning and construction projects.