Southern Mapping Company and Southern Mapping GEOspatial
World leaders in Aerial Surveying and Airborne Remote Sensing.
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Memberships & Accreditations
SM has an ISO 9001-2008 quality system certified through TUV Rheinland since 2008. Our air operations are approved by Hart Aviation and Litson & Associates.
Mineral exploration is a multistage process starting from large area low detail mapping and progressing to targeted areas at very high resolution. Initial stage geological mapping is done using a combination of medium resolution multispectral satellite imagery and elevation models. Once target areas are identified, hyperspectral mapping can be used in two ways. The system can be mounted in an aircraft and a mineral map can be generated based on spectral signatures taken from a library or collected via a ground tructhing campaign. Additionally, a table mounted unit can be used to scan the drill cores to help generate a 3D mineral model of the prospect. A Lidar system coupled with a digital camera is used for the most accurate elevation model and orthoimage generation for bankable feasibility studies and detailed mine planning.
Open cast pits, shafts, roads, plant, dams, dump sites and all of the infrastructure associated with mines has to be planned and designed. A high accuracy airborne Lidar survey provides the elevation model and above ground feature information, as well as the high resolution orthoimagery necessary to achieve this. Mine plans need to be updated at least quarterly and this can be achieved very efficiently using such a Lidar survey. When new plant needs to be designed for integration into an existing site, there is no better technology than terrestrial Lidar, captured from a static position or from a vehicle mounted system. The point cloud information captured provides a very rich and detailed 3D representation of the plant.
SM has a wide range of tools to measure risk on a site. These include tailings weakness and leakage monitoring, wide area slope and subsidence monitoring, sinkhole detection, pollution mapping, fire risk, compromised water quality, both organic and inorganic, with source detection, underground or stockpile fire detection, flood modelling, human encroachment, etc. Reporting periods vary from daily to annual updates, depending on the technology required and the urgency and importance of the problem.
Wet tailings dams have the potential to burst their walls and release a flood of slurry material resulting in extensive pollution. Our automated optical and radar satellite based monitoring programme provides early warning of potential failure, allowing remedial action to be taken in good time.
Rehabilitation of worked out mines receives great focus from mine operators and government compliance agencies alike. Alien vegetation, hydrocarbon spills, dump revegetation, exposed hazardous mineral such as asbestos and coal, etc. need to be mapped and measured. A combination of our tools, including Lidar, hyperspectral and satellits are used to map the success or otherwise of the site rehabilitation.
“If you can’t measure, you can’t manage.” The saleable output of a mine end up on a stockpile and the size of this stockpile represents the potential income to the mine. Waste dumps represent a cost of sale and also need to be measured to understand the mine profitability. Pit volumes provide additional information about progress and profitability. SM has programmes to survey these pits and stockpiles on a regular basis, from weekly to annually, providing rapid turnaround of highly accurate volumes for mine management.
By using hematite and jarosite as indicator minerals, hyperspectral technology can identify potentially high yield areas for mining early in the project life cycle to optimise income. Regular hyperspectral and Lidar surveys will allow continuous measurement and optimisation of the remining process, as well as monitoring the associated environmental rehabilitation.
Initial corridor and site selections are best done using medium resolution data sets. These include elevation models, orthoimagery, geological, soil, vegetation, land cover, infrastructure, environmental, obstacle, building count and other types of information sets. Many of these information layers are available from Southern Mapping and can be supplied for input into your GIS or within a 3D interactive visualisation tool that allows a virtual tour of an entire initial area or of a number of corridor options.
Once a corridor has been selected, the project enters the design phase, at which time engineering level data is required. This is achieved using an airborne Lidar survey, with deliverables comprising a high accuracy (5cm to 20cm) elevation dataset and high resolution (10cm to 20cm) orthoimagery across the corridor. The best route within that corridor can then be selected in a combination of a desktop study and field verification.
Dam design requires accurate survey information of three areas, the inundation area, covering the entire area upstream of the wall where water will be impounded; that dam wall area itself; and a significant area downstream for disaster planning in the event of a failure of the wall or overflow. All of these areas typically are fairly densely vegetated making accurate survey quite difficult. Due to Lidar’s ability to penetrate vegetation, it is ideal for surveys of river channels and therefore of dam sites. The imagery provides a time-stamped snapshot of the project area at a baseline date. This helps with socio economic issues such as resettlement eligibility and compensation.
A wide variety of vegetation types are found in servitudes and in many cases the servitude holder is responsible for their control, either for legal reasons or due to performance management requirements. Airborne Hyperspectral technology is able to identify different vegetation types and provide a detailed vegetation cover map of a project area at a resolution of between 1m and 3m, as required. This can then be used for vegetation management in the right of way, including removal in the case of undesirable or alien species, and pruning or mowing, in the case of acceptable species. With an accurate spatial map derived from a hyperspectral survey, it is possible to identify these various species and control them. Whether done internally or by an external contractor, knowledge of the exact area covered by each species helps to define the task as well as the cost of remediation. A Lidar survey at the same time will enhance the available information and provide for better costing and for more refined pruning interventions.
Many existing power lines have been designed with excessive safety margins and have an unused carrying capacity. Lidar is the only technology that is able to rapidly survey an existing line and capture ground, tower and line geometry. This can then be entered into line design software to determine both under and over clearances on spans. In the case of under-clearances, remedial measures such as re-tensioning, changes to the tower heights or fencing off areas can be implemented. In the case of over-clearances, increases in total power transmission may be possible, for less than a new line would cost.
By using the detailed spectral signatures that we have developed, we are able to map different vegetation species to a high degree of accuracy using airborne hyperspectral sensors. This allows us to provide maps showing the alien vegetation present on the property.
A hyperspectral survey of a project area is able to produce detailed soil class, soil chemistry and agricultural potential maps. By combining soil classes, land cover, topographic data, rainfall statistics and other inputs, a reliable erosion potential map can be produced.
A classical Lidar survey for agricultural applications provides elevation information at accuracies in the order of 8-10cm in clear areas and approximately 20cm in areas with mature trees, without the need to clear vegetation in advance. This allows a full design of a new agricultural project, even for demanding applications such as irrigation planning.
Both airborne hyperspectral and satellite multispectral sensors have the ability to monitor crop health during a growing season. Health is affected by pollution, drought, pests, and this can be detected in the infrared bands long before it is apparent to the naked eye. This give the farmer/forester the ability to take remedial action before it is too late.
Final Line Alignment
Life Cycle Surveys
Everything on the surface of the earth, whether it is a type of plant, soil rock or mineral, absorbs and reflects light differently, In essence hyperspectral imagery is equivalent to taking hundreds of pictures over and area at ten nanometre intervals, Thus enables us to effectively search for specific signatures within the resultant imagery and detect different minerals, rocks, soil types, plants etc, automatically.
Application would include environmental baseline audits for the mining sector, acid mine drainage (AMD), hydrocarbon spill assessment; species level vegetation mapping and mineral exploration.
LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is a fairly young technology designed to provide topographic mapping. When combined with a digital camera, a complete high speed mapping system is created.
Southern Mapping uses Optech LiDAR units and Rollei Phase 1 medium format cameras. A LiDAR system measures distances directly from the aircraft to the ground during flight. The accuracy, point density and the image resolution are a direct function of flying height.
The laser is able to penetrate through the gaps in vegetation and measure accurate ground level heights. LiDAR points have a very high inherent accuracy and coupled with a high point density, produce an extremely high accuracy ground and above ground data set. Advances in measuring equipment (GPS and IMU units) used on modern survey aircraft, means little to no ground control is required. LiDAR is also an active sensor and can be flown in Sub-Optimal weather conditions and can even be flown at night.
An entire project can be processed and delivered far faster than any other survey technology.
Airborne Thermal Mapping uses high resolution thermal imaging cameras that measure infrared radiation in 3-5 micrometer and 8-14 micrometer bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Typical thermal imaging applications include:
- Leak detection mapping
- Landfill sire surveys for detection of Methane gas
- Underground fire / hotspot detection and mapping
- Sub-surface heating pipe / wiring detection and mapping
- Heat loss and damp mapping in buildings
- Mapping of water paths
- Insulation integrity surveys
Optical satellite imagery
Southern Mapping provides imagery and products for many major commercial satellite sensors. With our remote sensing product suite, we are able to offer a full solution for projects requiring imagery and DEM from broad to detailed satellite derived imagery and DEM through to our very high resolution, high accuracy LiDAR and associated airborne imagery.
Our ability to merge imagery from different sensors into accurate colour balanced mosaics furthermore allows us to tap into available imagery archives in order to benefit from high discounted process for this data.
Southern Mapping is a distributor of RadarSAT and TerraSAR Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) products, providing SAR derived Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) with a grid posting of 10m and vertical accuracies in the order of 15-20m.
By capturing successive SAR images over a target site and measuring the difference between successive images (interferometry), Southern Mapping is able to measure discrete surface movements down to sub-centimetre level. This is an extremely valuable tool for monitoring heave, subsidence or slipping of urban areas, infrastructure projects, mine walls or undetermined areas.
Southern Mapping provides a wide range of information, derived from a variety of sources, including our own airborne sensors, satellite sensors, our won historical records and shelf data sets. We use GIS technology to combine this information into an easily usable whole. We are able to supply this for our client’s in house GIS use or we are able to offer an outsourced GIS service where we provide the data hosting and manipulation. In addition we offer GIS software and training, customized for your particular needs and using your own datasets.
Our Imaging Portfolio
Latest News & Articles
January 25, 2015
Worldview-3 is the latest and most advanced DigitalGlobe satellite, launched in August 2014. Its 30cm ...
January 25, 2015
From the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard college), I graduated with a BSc in Land Surveying ...
January 25, 2015
Dear Ladies & Gentlemen I trust that you will find our first newsletter of 2015 ...
December 25, 2014
2014 has been another interesting and positive year for the Southern Mapping Group. One of ...