Creation of a Live Virtual Reality Model of Mining Environments from Sensor Fusion

CIM MineSpace 2001
Sabry El-Hakim, Jean Francois Lapointe,
Abstract One of the goals of this ongoing project is to demonstrate that safe, effective and reliable monitoring and control of mine operations can be performed over satellite and terrestrial communication links, including the Internet using models created from various sensors located in a mine. Using this system, supervisors and planners can easily access information from equipment, such as production data and condition monitoring information anywhere around the world or in space. With such a system, a specialist can remotely access data to solve a problem without having to be transported near the mining site, thus saving time and money.

The system uses the NRC Virtualized Reality toolkit developed especially for this type of application. The toolkit is an add-on to the SGI Performer library allowing for the direct connection between sensor data located on the Internet and a graphic action in the VR world. Based on this library, a generic viewer was developed allowing visualization of the multitude of information necessary to create an advance mining information management system. The live 3D model of the mine used in this system is created from various sensor fusion techniques ranging from photogrammetry to dynamic 3D geometric modeling. This virtual reality model represents not only static infrastructures such as building and underground mine corridors, but also mobile equipment such as trucks and excavators. The modeling technique deal with a wide range of sensors such as survey data, satellite pictures, ore concentration, machine condition indicators, video, sound, real-time GPS locator, range sensor, etc.

Using this virtualized reality system, every piece of information is displayed in context allowing for a better temporal and spatial correlation of events. Syncrude, a Canadian mining company located in northern Alberta, is planning to use this technology, not only to understand oil sands mining processes better, but also to give decision-makers better access to the timely, accurate information from the field that they need to make informed decisions.

In this paper, we will discuss the different aspects of this system from the point of view of model building, network data communication, sensor systems, system integration, and human factors.
Keywords: Virtual Reality, GIS, Information system, Sensor Fusion
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