Western Australia is refining its search for minerals and resources using mapping and tracking technology that is tailored for smartphones and mobile devices.
A new WAGeology app, launched by the Department of Mines and Petroleum, enables prospectors and explorers to track mineral resources and mining data on their smartphones, or other mobile devices. Added features support information access outside of mobile signal range.
Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Marmion, said the mobile app gives prospectors detailed digital geological maps and information at this fingertips.
Mobile users can view multiple layers of information, including the use of land, native title arrangements or the data around biodiversity.
Importantly for prospectors and explorers, this mobile app provides measuring, drawing and mapping capabilities. This is combined with the use of global positioning systems, which improves mapping, and pinpoints prospects with better accuracy.
The WAGeology app was developed using the department’s fast-growing digital database. The next step will be to build a caching facility so information can be available on a smartphone or tablet, even when a user is out of mobile signal range.
Beyond two-dimensional mapping
The WAGeology app complements other tracking tools, including 3D resource modelling. These features improve the targeting, and exploration of largely-untapped sites.
“We’re nearing the end of what many geoscientists call the ‘cartoon era’ of two-dimensional mapping,” Marmion said.
He added that advances in 3D systems mean that prospectors or explorers can visualise the earth’s crust with better precision. This saves explorers large sums of money, and reduces the uncertainty and risk involving domestic or international investors.
The state’s 3D data incorporates information from a recent Harvey-Waroona seismic survey. This is part of the South West Hub Carbon Capture and Storage Project. Visual-mapping data clarifies the potential to store industrial carbon dioxide, inside the deeper sandstones.
Investments in mobile apps, 3D modelling, and data mining enables WA to build its discovery and development capabilities and track resources across diverse or under-explored areas, Marmion said.
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