The Impact of UAVs on the Balance Sheet of High-cost Stock Piles
The case for using airborne missions to monitor volumes has already been proven in terms of accuracy, speed and safety when compared to traditional ground-survey methods. Sumac Geomatics undertakes monthly UAV-based surveys to report on production volumetrics for firms in the natural resources and mining sectors. In any type of airborne survey, the use of survey control is usually assumed. What we feel can be overlooked in the UAV services industry is the importance of data processing control too. Also, a question that is rarely asked, is what are the true economic impacts of reported volumes to policies such as enterprise stock management procedures?
Using real project examples from corporate monitoring programs, this presentation will illustrate the importance of both survey and data processing control in the context of both UAV-led data capture. We will outline steps taken to apply the same levels of process control regardless of data volume and project frequency.
As an example, we will walk through the principles of the data processing procedure that is applied when providing UAV-based monthly volumetric reporting to Resolute Forestry Products. For a corporation such as Resolute, a miscalculation in the order of 2% could lead to impact on a firm’s books in the region of $millions per year. We will illustrate how achieving measurement calculation tolerances requires consistency, but not necessarily automation.
It is our view that data processing procedures can not only bring known miscalculations, but also unknown miscalculations too. In our terms, data processing control requires the correct application of technology, blended with the experiences of the data processing team. We will highlight examples of how key decisions, such as ‘how to define a stock pile?’ can dramatically impact the final results reported. This question, along with other non-automated decisions are kept in our process to maintain the control that is required.
Finally, we will move the discussion of these projects on from simply discussing variations in accuracy values, to providing examples in dollar terms to illustrate how cumulative errors in survey and data processing control procedures impact corporate purchasing decisions and production planning.