Virtual reality for mine reclamation

BGC Engineering and LOOOK have partnered to transform communication in the mining and geoengineering sectors using Microsoft's HoloLens technology
Virtual reality for mine reclamation Virtual reality for mine reclamation Virtual reality for mine reclamation Virtual reality for mine reclamation Virtual reality for mine reclamation

Staff reporter

The two firms have developed a proof of concept application that turns traditional flat engineering drawings and data into interactive 3-D maps and immersive landscapes.

Today, most earth science engineering is communicated using flat, 2-D engineering drawings.  Being limited to two dimensions makes it difficult to show the scale and scope of a project.

"It is essential that everyone is able to see and understand what we are doing," said Virginia Cullen, BGC's COO. "Project delays caused by miscommunication can cost our clients hundreds of millions of dollars."

By using interactive 3-D maps and immersive landscapes, BGC can communicate their designs to clients and stakeholders more effectively.
"I can show you a million 2-D drawings, but you'll never understand it as clearly as if I show you the same information in 3-D using HoloLens," explained Bill Burton, VP at BGC, "This has the potential to revolutionise how we communicate on a day-to-day basis."

Some of BGC's biggest projects involve land reclamation for mining companies.

"Reclamation is about making good on the commitment that a mine is a temporary use of the land," said Burton. "[With HoloLens] we can give you sense of what it's like to stand in the reclaimed environment and see what that final landscape will be. This is easier to understand, for experts and non-experts alike."

BGC's and LOOOK's work with HoloLens has already received positive response from BGC's clients and contemporaries.

Nalaine Morin, project manager, lands department, for the Tahltan Central Government (British Columbia, Canada) and principal at ArrowBlade Consulting Services has experienced the application first-hand.

"Resource development today has really changed. Now there's an engagement with communities and with First Nations people about the landscape and about making decisions about how resource development will affect their communities. A tool like HoloLens, it just helps to support the discussion," said Morin.