CSM has invested in a cutting-edge piece of equipment which puts conventional surveying methods very much in the shade. The cloud scanner is a laser scanner which gathers spatial data at a rate of up to 1800 points per second, allowing the user to rapidly construct accurate 3D computer models of anything from a human figure to a suspension bridge.

The Tremough 'tunnel' as seen by the cloudscanner

One of the great advantages of laser scanning technology is increased safety. Unstable areas can be scanned at much greater distances than conventional surveying equipment will allow, negating the need for personnel to place themselves in danger. The machine can also be used in total darkness – a real benefit when scanning underground!

'Nirex chamber' at the CSM Test Mine - cloudscanned in darkness

The making, recording and calculation of surveying measurements are essential for the planning and control of mining and quarrying operations, so surveying is naturally a key component of CSM’s Mining Engineering degree course. Both undergraduates and MSc students have put the cloud scanner through its paces in locations such as Carnsew Quarry (a stone’s throw from the Tremough campus) and the CSM test mine. By giving students opportunities to use the latest technologies, CSM is arming them with up-to-date knowledge which will stand them in good stead when they enter the industry.

Tunnel 'simulated' drillhole alignment

Like most other equipment which find their way into CSM’s clutches, the cloud scanner is being tested out in all manner of innovative applications. For example, the technology has been used to survey vulnerable sea cliffs. By returning to the same area and taking further scans for comparison, the cloud scanner could help to record and predict coastal erosion. The equipment has also been used in experiments designed to help reduce blast vibration in mining and quarrying operations which are close to residential areas.

For more information contact Andy Wetherelt.