the hours it can take to manually check each stockpile throughout the site. “We have a lot of gravel pits and gravel stockpiles,” Gabanna says. “The idea is for us to be able to manage our inventories and have stockpile surveys done a lot quicker.” Once the drone has captured the site vi-suals, the operator is able to go on to the Kes-pry site to access their data (Kespry hosts the data for you as part of the cost of the drone). Once the site visual has been loaded, a poly-gon tool is used to outline the rough limits of the pile. The operator sets the elevation points around the pile to tell the program what level is ground and, within seconds, you are able to find out the volume of the pile. Also, there is an option to input den-sity to gain a weight measure of the pile as well. At the end of the day, you end up with accurate readings in metric units to provide a comprehensive understanding of exactly how much material is in the stockpile. In addition to the benefit the drone pro-vides in stockpile management, it also pro-vides the ability to provide detailed informa-tion on the contours of the site, providing the site manager with the information for proper site planning. The drone may be the smallest piece of equipment that is used at the pit or quarry, but it is quickly becoming one of the most valuable, providing details for stockpile management without putting workers in harm's way. IMPROVED SAFETY There are also serious safety considerations to factor in with the use of drones for stock-pile management. First of all, the operator can set up and launch the drone from the periphery of the operation, far removed from the machine operations and materials movement throughout the bulk of the pit or quarry. Secondly, there is no more need for the surveyor to work their way onto the stockpile with equipment in tow, eliminat-ing the risk of injury that can occur from falling down while trying to climb up the aggregate stockpile. “Getting a machine to flyover top of the piles, versus having one of our guys walk all of the piles is far less hazardous for our staff,” says Gabanna. And from the early trials, there is no question of accuracy. “Our experience in Alberta has been that the stockpile reports are consistently accu-rate with what we had in the past,” Gabanna says. “Our numbers are pretty much identi-cal between surveys and test flights.” Computer images of the job site allow the operator to set a ground point, frame the pile and receive information on the weight and volume of the stockpile within seconds. LOOKING FORWARD Terus will incorporate three drone kits into its B.C. operations, one for each of the primary regions that the company works 12 | ROCKTOROAD | UAV DIGITAL EDITION in (northwest, northeast and southeast). With drone use becoming a cost-effec-tive stockpile management for quarries and pits, and helping to also eliminate a major safety issue, it’s only a matter of time before more companies make drones an integral piece of equipment for their day-to-day operations. This article originally appeared in the May/ June 2016 issue of Rock to Road. For more on emerging technologies for the aggregates industry, visit www.rocktoroad.com.