by Michael Burns, President, Pioneer Exploration Consultants Ltd. on July,11, 2015
Pioneer Exploration Consultants Ltd. is a Canadian based geological consulting company that is quickly emerging as a leader in mining and exploration related UAV-based survey technology. Starting in 2014, they designed and built in-house a multicopter UAV-MAG™ survey system, and flew the first ever 590 line km multicopter-based survey.
Rather than waiting for a turn-key UAV based magnetometer system to hit the market, Pioneer came up with the idea of designing and building their own…
“Starting in the summer of 2014, we combined a proven UAV platform with a potassium vapor GSMP-35A magnetometer, resulting in a system with excellent performance specifications and survey capabilities. The UAV is a multicopter flight platform, chosen based on its payload capacity and flight time of about 30 min. The GSMP-35A potassium vapor sensor package is a proven airborne magnetometer with 0.0001 nT resolution, 0.3 pT sensitivity and 10 Hz sampling. The sensor package includes an ultra-light weight laser altimeter, GPS, and an IMU (inertial measurement unit) to record the sensor’s velocity, orientation and XYZ movement. The result was our UAV-MAG™ system which can fly up to 70 line km per day at an all in cost to the client of less than $100 per line km. Mobilization costs are the same as getting a person on site with 100 pounds of gear, due to the light weight and compact size of the UAV-MAG™, so rather than being a major cost addition to the survey, it’s becomes an insignificant expense.
To our knowledge, our survey costs are at least $40.00/ line km lower than anyone else on the market. This becomes a significant advantage for our clients, letting them put more resources into ground, and that’s huge for them.
Example of first vertical derivative results from two sample surveys, line spacing 50m, height 45m.
Our initial design focused on achieving three main goals:
1) To reduce magnetic interference of the flight platform in order to collect high quality magnetic data.
2) Create a system that is both reliable and flexible enough to fly a mag survey and collect aerial photos for orthoimagery and digital elevation models in the same day.
3) Create a highly portable system with the ability to fly a survey safely and simply in any terrain and under challenging weather conditions.
We achieved the first goal by employing a “towed bird” sensor configuration. The sensor is slung below the craft by a special designed light weight mount system, allowing sufficient craft-sensor separation and achieving low drag and no noticeable reduction in flight time. The remaining requirements pushed us away from fixed wing platforms and into multicopters for a number of reasons. With the UAV-MAG system, we can launch from the middle of a survey grid in heavily forested, steep terrain and not worry about takeoff and landing. Once in the air, the UAV-MAG™ takes care of the rest by flying the survey autonomously and returning home for landing. We found this invaluable for remote surveys. The small size of the platform, compared to a fixed wing system allows fast flight launching and easy transport. We can carry our fully flight-ready system by hand, ATV or vehicle, and launch within minutes. No complicated launching platforms, or landing fields required. What we have created is a truly versatile survey platform for multiple sensor packages, essentially a Swiss Army knife UAV, and our clients so far have been extremely pleased with the results and reduced survey costs.”
-Michael Burns, President, Pioneer Exploration Consultants Ltd.
For more information about our UAV-MAG™ Surveys, or to request a quote, please contact Michael Burns at: Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org