Premier Mapping premiers mine blast livestreaming
A South African aerial mapping company has developed a drone-based surveillance system to provide mining, engineering and geospatial organisations with high-fidelity live footage of activities around their premises.
Tshwane-based Premier Mapping Africa developed its surveillance system, powered by an AJA HELO H.264 streamer/recorder, with the aim of delivering low-latency 1080p footage of mine activity – such as viewing controlled blasts or reviewing operations remotely in real-time – to a secure content delivery network (CDN) in near real-time.
According to Andrew Donald, senior surveyor at Premier Mapping, the solution is ideal for international mining companies with teams dispersed across global offices. The HELO is a streaming device made by AJA Video, and allows users to simultaneously stream video signals to Web Content Delivery Networks while encoding and recording H.264 files to SD cards, USB storage or network-based storage with the push of a button. Supporting a range of professional workflows, the H.264 streaming, recording and encoding device includes 3G-SDI and HDMI inputs and outputs and can handle up to 1080p recording formats, among other features.
“Our expertise lies in mine survey and surveillance, and innovating new solutions to help improve client operations,” says Donald. “We’ve updated our video services to produce and deliver high-quality live streams that allow mining company employees to tune into important events at the mine from afar in near real-time versus the alternative – recording, compressing and uploading files for review an hour post-event.”
Premier Mapping first built the system to support one of its clients, a global mining corporation that needed a reliable, cost-efficient solution for sharing live blast footage from one of its excavation sites in Mogalakwena, Limpopo Province to the North of South Africa, with team members in the USA and Australia.
They used a DJI drone which can capture ultra-high definition aerial footage to an on-board memory card and simultaneously stream a 1080 feed from the drone to a remote controller on the ground. Using the controller, Donald could adjust recording parameters, camera settings and exposures. From the remote controller, a HDMI cable and ethernet are used to transmit the 1080p feed to the HELO unit located in a nearby truck. The ethernet cable is also connected to a WIFI router, and AJA says the live signal is routed using a 5.8/2.4 GHz system in the mine and streamed over the network. From HELO, the live stream is fed to VLC, an open source multimedia player and secure CDN. The Premier Mapping team generate a live stream link and share it ahead of time, so that clients can open their VLC app and view the stream from anywhere they can access a connection with minimal latency.
Says Donald; “HELO is easy to configure and use, and it’s about as plug-and-play as you can get. AJA support has also been fantastic in guiding our team through any challenges on-site”