Field augmented reality for mineral exploration and mining — An upscaling project

Visualization of 3D/4D models in geosciences, exploration and mining

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Keyword: Natural Sciences, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Geosciences, Multidisciplinary, Naturvetenskap, Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap, Multidisciplinär geovetenskap, Ore Geology, Malmgeologi
Publication year: 2019

Currently, it is still common practice in the mining industry to display three-dimensional geological, geotechnical and resource data and models as 2D projections on maps, office computers and in written reports. This introduces uncertainties and time inefficiencies regarding data acquisition, interpretation and decision-making. The need in the mining and exploration industry for an improvement of these workflows, as well as for more objective and accurate data, facilitated quality control, as well as more cost-efficient and accurate exploration targeting, has been identified within the VIisual3D network of infrastructure ( The FARMIN project aims to develop an augmented reality (AR) solution that visualizes 3D geological data and allows exploration and mining professionals to modify models in the field.We aim to close an identified development gap in the visualization of geological data: the link of gathering data in-situ, updating the models and match virtual and real coordinates while exploring in the field or working in a mine site. We will close this gap in this project, by combining developments on highly efficient 3D geomodelling with state-of-the-art augmented reality (AR) hardware and software, as well as expertise in exploration and mining. The resulting solution will be a game changer for how geologists see and collect data and update their models in the field and in the mine.Augmented reality smartglasses (e.g. Microsoft HoloLens) enable users to interact with high-definition holograms in the real world. Microsoft Hololens, for example, allows users to view, control and interact with 3D content using their hands and voice. Field-compatible augmented reality solutions, including but not limited to Microsoft HoloLens technology, coupled with interactive IoT (internet of things) networks allow not only for the manipulation of holograms in a mock-up size, but even in real scale and location. Similar technology has been successfully established in other industrial sectors such as for construction and maintenance, resulting in increased efficiency, as well as reduced operating costs and working hours.The combination of geomodelling and AR technology will be based on GemPy, an open-source library for implicit geological modelling, developed by RWTH Aachen University, and rexOS, an AR-operating system, developed by Robotic Eyes GmbH. The remaining project consortium consists of two European mining and exploration companies (Boliden Mineral, MATSA Mining), as well as a major consulting company for the mining sector (DMT), a business development company (LTU Business) and a university partner with strong expertise in exploration and ore geology research (Luleå University of Technology). The project will kick off in January 2020 and run for three years. Continuous updates on the project progress will be published via the project homepage, as well as social media channels.


Tobias Christoph Kampmann

Luleå tekniska universitet; Geovetenskap och miljöteknik
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Miguel de la Varga

RWTH Aachen University, Germany
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