Maptek: Rediscover Mining

Peter Johnson, CEO Adverse structural orientations, extreme rock conditions and steep slope angles—the list of adversities that glare at a mine design look never ending. Technologies—from 3D laser scanning to geotechnical software—can unquestionably help firms overcome these challenges; however, the question remains as to an effective implementation of these technologies that can lead to fruitful results. Understanding the pulse of mining industry is Maptek—a pioneer in tackling the industry’s challenge of having to master complex software quandaries. The company leverages novel products that support the customers through design conformance, advanced 3D spatial information, and project data. “ We offer new design, new platform, new applications and new technology, to establish a fresh environment for ongoing innovation,” says Peter Johnson, CEO of Maptek. “Our products define our future as a global mining technology leader,” he adds.

With more than three decades of commitment to mining technology research and development, Maptek has culminated into a leading provider of innovative software, hardware and services for the global mining industry today. The company offers an extensive range of solutions for the business critical technical challenges that operations face every day, backed by unparalleled customer service and support. “We make the most widely used, advanced and successful products in the industry, and that is all we do,” asserts Johnson.

"We make the most widely used, advanced and successful products in the industry, and that is all we do"

Maptek's products span mining types and commodities, providing the link between geological, spatial design, execution and measurement details of a mining operation to business outcomes and profitability. The company's pioneering Vulcan 3D modelling and mine design software now has more than 7000 users worldwide and their consulting services and technical support is availed by a customer base across more than 75 countries.

Transforming Mining Data

Maptek entered the surveying equipment market with I-Site laser scanner consisting of all the sensor technologies necessary for survey tasks. These are integrated into a ruggedized modular system which can be configured to an existing survey requirement. I-Site is combined with integrated digital camera that enables simultaneous capture of 3D laser point clouds with overlaid photo pixels. The system features an integrated GPS and digital compass and combines a user friendly interface with 2D and 3D modeling options.

Significant operational and quality gains can be made in mine planning and technical operations, and Maptek is working to make these a reality

The outstanding processing power handles large datasets with ease and ensures fast and accurate deliverables for mining applications.

Vulcan’s tools have been developed for specific mining scenarios and can be customized to suit all stages of a mine’s lifecycle, creating a complete solution for mining companies across the globe. One product that has stood the test of time with the help of Maptek’s perseverance is Vulcan—a 3D general mine planning software package. Vulcan enables users to validate and transform raw mining data into dynamic 3D models, accurate mine designs and operating plans. This product, which has evolved to its current stage over three decades, leverages advanced 3D spatial information, modeling, analysis and visualization techniques. The latest version of the software delivers new functionality for optimizing underground stope access with level design tools and a Gantt-based scheduler for improved underground scheduling.

Vulcan’s most popular applications include 3D geological mapping and modelling, mine design, mine planning, geotechnical analysis, mine scheduling and optimization. Mining engineers, geologists and mine surveyors use these technologies to enhance their capabilities. Maptek always ensures that new techniques and algorithms are exploited in the software to guarantee a modern vibrant mine planning system.

An instance is the development of innovative tools like the Pit Optimiser in Vulcan 9.1. This lets users run multiple “what-if” scenarios on a potential design significantly faster than other methods. In addition, the company manufactures latest generation of I-Site laser scanning technology—a combination of rugged hardware and point-cloud processing software, and other solutions like BlastLogic and PerfectDig.

Maptek’s commitment to go the extra mile has helped the company gain numerous well-known customers across the globe. One of them, Energy Resources Australia (ERA), had the problem of accumulated stockpiles, a considerable issue with the stringent environmental standards in Australia for mine rehabilitation. With the help of Vulcan, ERA was able to track historical GPS data from their trucks and use that information to track each stage of stockpile accumulation using Vulcan block models and triangulations. As a result, the client could create accurate estimations of the grades on the legacy stockpiles for environmental regulations, improving efficiencies in their processing mills.
Complete Scanner

Maptek I-Site systems are well known for their ease of use, accurate results and efficient field to finish processing. With a scanning range of 2400 metres, the new I-Site XR3 is smaller, lighter and faster. The system includes a new, improved high dynamic range panoramic camera. It produces imagery that is ideal for high resolution geotechnical analysis and visualization, and snapshot imagery, which adds an enhanced feature for better analysis.

The I-Site XR3 laser scanner possesses the hallmark automated mine survey workflow favoured by surveyors, geotechnical engineers, geologists and mining engineers. Acquired scans can be reviewed in the field, which avoids the need to repeat work to fill in gaps. Multiple scans can be queued for maximum efficiency while surface, point and global scan registration ensures accurate results. The I-Site XR3 is compatible with I-Site Drive, Maptek Sentry and Maptek PerfectDig. Also, modular design allows customers to order a configuration to suit their applications.

For instance, Rix’s Creek is an open cut mining operation northwest of Singleton in New South Wales. After acquiring Integra Camberwell coal mine and expansion into Rix’s Creek North, the client had more survey work to handle. A crucial issue with existing methods of recording survey information was avoiding proximity to hazardous areas. The company adopted Maptek I-Site laser scanning and Maptek's consultant Jordan Herrmann performed end of month survey with a vehicle mounted I-Site laser scanner, using the stop-go method. Surveyors were impressed and the operation implemented I-Site without delay. Today, Rix’s Creek personnel also use the I-Site system for calculating offsets between drillhole design and highwall scanning.

With success stories like this, Maptek's laser scanning software is being continually refined to offer clients a complete solution with advanced capabilities. Recently, Maptek announced third generation I-Site XR3 and LR3 laser scanners. The new models offer significant improvement in range capability while retaining the reliability and usability they are known for.

Reinventing Mining Future

Maptek continually looks for new opportunities to help players in the mining industry; their people are encouraged to engage with customers and develop solutions to achieve this. They continually develop new products and technology, incorporated on a proven track record of successful delivery to mining companies globally. “Significant operational and quality gains can still be made in mine planning and technical operations, and Maptek is working to make these a reality,” adds Johnson. “We embrace new technology. We will continue to be at the forefront of developing and delivering technical solutions to mines by understanding the needs of the industry and investing in the best people to deliver our solutions.”

Moving ahead, Maptek plans to re-invest 20 percent of the company’s revenue into R&D. In terms of geographical expansion, the company has already begun pursuing the growing Russian market, as well as other emerging markets like Brazil, Asia, and Africa.


Adelaide, Australia

Peter Johnson, CEO

Provider of innovative software, hardware and services for global mining companies