Council for Scientific and Industrial Research South Africa

The surface deformation caused by shallow underground mining poses a risk to health and safety, as well as infrastructure and the environment. Azimuth is designed to detect, measure and monitor mining-induced surface deformation using state-of-the-art satellite imaging technology. The service quantifies millimetre to centimetre scale surface deformation and maps the extent of deforming areas over time. Since deformation over large areas can be monitored remotely, the satellite-based synthetic aperture radar measurements effectively overcome the limitations of conventional monitoring approaches. Frequent image acquisitions by orbiting satellites also mean that routine measurements are possible, allowing for early warning in vulnerable areas.

Based on satellite imaging technology and underpinned by a mature information and communications technology (ICT) platform, Azimuth addresses the industry-wide challenge of monitoring mining-induced surface instabilities. The service is provided on a secure, web-accessible platform which includes an e-mail-based notification and alerting protocol. The alerting system will also ensure that surveyors and engineers will be alerted about potentially hazardous situations as soon as they are detected. This ensures that the mining sector effectively becomes an information society that is connected to a system which constantly creates and disseminates new information critical to their operations.

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