Editor's Desk

Measuring Stockpiles By Smart Phone

Traditional surveying and measurement teams use techniques like drilling into stockpiles and LiDAR equipment to gauge material volume. However, innovative technology has delivered a “game changing” solution for aggregate producers: the URC Ventures Stockpile Reports Lite iPhone app can measure stockpiles more quickly and easily than ever before. The app allows professionals to measure piled material by simply pointing an iPhone at the material. The measurement results are accessible right away, for a fraction of the typical cost.

The innovation was born out of URC Ventures’ work with the large enterprise construction materials industry around the world in 2012. URC Ventures solves large-scale industry challenges through the real time digitisation of the physical world. With drastic improvements in mobile phone camera technology, combined with computer vision and machine learning, and with exponential growth in processing power, it can make a simple, low cost, easy to use solution for the entire market.

Stockpile Reports is image-based and uses 3D reconstruction to accurately measure stockpiles. It was an aggregates producer executive that inspired URC to develop the Stockpile Reports technology, which is now a successful product used in 25 countries across the globe.

Before Stockpile Reports arrived, the standard practice in the aggregates industry was to call out a measurement team of surveyors. This is costly and few sites can afford to have a team on hand or hire an outside firm. So they have to estimate, often inaccurately.

After downloading the Stockpile Reports Lite app app, users simply point the iPhone camera at the surface of the pile and walk around its perimeter. The app captures high resolution imagery that is uploaded to the cloud and processed to generate a report. Independent tests have shown the measurements to be within one to two per cent of LiDAR surveys. It only takes minutes to measure and the results are auto-generated. Once on the purchase screen, you can select the amount of measurements you would like to purchase and go through the check out process. You get one free measurement in order to try it out first.

Once you make a purchase, you are ready to measure. The Stockpile Reports Lite App enables you to re-measure a pile as many times as you like. You won’t consume that measurement until you tap the “Accept measurement” button.

When your measurement is uploaded and processed you will see that it is in a “Ready for approval” state. You can examine the 3D model, play back the video of your measurement, and decide whether to keep it. If you dislike it, you can measure again. There is no additional charge. If you like what you see, you just tap the “Accept measurement” button and the final measurement volume will be revealed.

The benefits are numerous, especially in the resolution of disputes over quantities of material bought, sold, produced or delivered.

Companies that need to scale inventory management across their operations can upgrade to the Stockpile Reports enterprise version, giving them unlimited user accounts, unlimited measurements, the ability to measure larger piles, and bunkered material measurements. They can carry out aerial measurements via drone, and manage all the data and insights across all their locations via the Stockpile Reports enterprise web portal. The app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store: https://appstore.com/stockpileslite (for five free measurements, use promo code UGPADD5 at the check-out)

Source: UPS Positioning Systems

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