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Converting mine plans to a digital format

Anyone who has manually handled mine plans, blueprints and drawings will know how unwieldy they are to store, reference and update. Fortunately, sophisticated CAD software has ensured that modern mine plans are created and updated digitally, but what about those produced before the digital age? Converting hardcopy plans to a digital format that can then be accessed using CAD systems is a specialised and time-consuming process and few mining companies have the in-house resources to make the conversion.

Tomahee fills this gap by offering an end-to-end scanning, vectorisation and elevation mapping solution for mine plans, particularly the old areas of mines that in some cases were mined out up to 40 years ago.

Cecil Jones explains the process: “We begin by scanning the old hardcopy mine plans of our client. Once scanned, they are available as jpeg or tiff images. Using MicroStation’s innovative CAD software, we import these raster images and reference them into a file. We then check out the coordinate lines on the image, obtain cross coordinates and place the points spatially within MicroStation. With the spatial information available, we identify the point on the image and then its corresponding monumental point. We match all the points in this way and the system then geo-references the coordinates and warps them into the correct position. With the file in position, we start a process of vectorisation. This means manually tracing the lines into position on a zero elevation.
We then import a survey peg database, which has the correct elevations for the area that has been traced (vectorised). Using MicroStation - GeoGraphics, a wire frame Digital Terrain Model (DTM) is created onto which this manually drawn vectorisation is draped, taking the relevant elevation into account. Throughout this process our intimate knowledge and skills with respect to mine plans is applied to ensure that plans are accurately transferred from their original format into the electronic environment.

In addition to the above capability we add another dimension to our service offering within this space by assisting our clients to convert from any of their old coordinate systems of reference to the new WGS84 global system of survey reference.

“When this process is complete, the plan is updated to meet the requirements specified by the Department of Minerals and Energy. Once the entire area has been captured, a grid is placed around the area and it is then divided into smaller grids as required by the client. Once the entire process is completed against the quality checks built in along the way, we integrate these converted plans into the client’s existing survey and planning environment” explains Mr Jones.

Being able to deliver this end to end process is one of the many areas of specialisation housed within Tomahee that allows us to help our clients save time and money, to boost productivity and optimise “their way of work”.
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