Point of Beginning

Maptek Technologies Used by Canadian Company, Teck for Coal Exporting

June 15, 2012

Six months after purchasing seven I-Site long range laser scanners from Maptek, surveyors from Teck’s coal business unit are beginning to experience the benefits of the latest survey technology first-hand.

Teck is the second largest exporter of high quality steelmaking coal in the world. Coal production accounts for 57 percent of Teck’s business, followed by copper and zinc. The company purchased a Maptek I-Site 8800 scanner for each of their coal operations and projects throughout Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

“Our vision was that we wanted something that was standard across all of our sites so we could move things across without introducing new systems,” said Eric Jensen, director of Engineering, Teck’s coal business unit.

I-Site 8800 laser scanners collect point cloud data at up to 2,000 meters, and can capture 3D digital images safely at the same time as scanning. Setup and capture are fast and easy because the high resolution digital camera is built in. I-Site Studio modeling software is integrated with the hardware, streamlining tasks such as mapping faces and updating surfaces.

The I-Site laser scanners were rolled out at several Teck sites in January and February this year, with improvements already noted. Surveyors can now capture up to 2 million points for an area that may have been previously surveyed with 10 GPS points.

“We are loving it for the accuracy and speed of stockpile modeling,” said Jensen. “The unit is robust enough to withstand what is going on in the pit and simple enough for the guys to adjust. It also translates really well to the surveyors in the offices.’

“I-Site is a safe way to get detailed pictures,” he said. “At Teck, safety is more than just a priority. It is an unwavering value and an inherent part of who we are. Now, with I-Site, no one has to go near the highwall.”

According to Jensen, although cost savings cannot be determined this soon, the “payback” is on the time spent and the accurate data the system provides.

“It has been such a change to the workflow with increased accuracy and an acceptable level of improvement,” said Jensen. “Uncertainty is eliminated because the volumes are accurate.”

“The systems work beautifully,” said Simon Long, GIS surveyor at Teck’s Elkview Operation. “Everyone here is happy with the entire service - it is phenomenal.”

“Seven site implementations was a real testament to Teck’s desire to introduce new technology and a good demonstration of cooperation between its sites,” said John Dolan, Maptek director of I-Site Sales. “This is a common goal for large companies that’s not easy to execute.”