Pioneer Exploration Consultants Ltd. is a Canadian based geological consulting company that is quickly emerging as a leader in mining and exploration related UAV-based survey technology. Starting in 2014, they designed and built in-house a multicopter UAV-MAG™ survey system, and flew the first ever 590 line km multicopter-based survey.

Rather than waiting for a turn-key UAV based magnetometer system to hit the market, Pioneer came up with the idea of designing and building their own combining their Magnetometer knowledge with a robust Surveyor UAV from Infinite Jib.

UAV-based-magnetometer“Starting in the summer of 2014, we combined a proven Infinite Jib UAV platform with a potassium vapor GSMP-35A magnetometer, resulting in a system with excellent performance specifications and survey capabilities. The UAV is a multicopter flight platform, chosen based on its payload capacity and flight time of about 30 min. The GSMP-35A potassium vapor sensor package is a proven airborne magnetometer with 0.0001 nT resolution, 0.3 pT sensitivity and 10 Hz sampling. The sensor package includes an ultra-light weight laser altimeter, GPS, and an IMU (inertial measurement unit) to record the sensor’s velocity, orientation and XYZ movement. The result was our UAV-MAG™ system which can fly up to 70 line km per day at an all in cost to the client of less than $100 per line km. Mobilization costs are the same as getting a person on site with 100 pounds of gear, due to the light weight and compact size of the UAV-MAG™, so rather than being a major cost addition to the survey, it’s becomes an insignificant expense.

To our knowledge, our survey costs are at least $40.00/ line km lower than anyone else on the market. This becomes a significant advantage for our clients, letting them put more resources into ground, and that’s huge for them.

Our initial design focused on achieving three main goals:

1) To reduce magnetic interference of the flight platform in order to collect high quality magnetic data.

2) Create a system that is both reliable and flexible enough to fly a mag survey and collect aerial photos for orthoimagery and digital elevation models in the same day.

3) Create a highly portable system with the ability to fly a survey safely and simply in any terrain and under challenging weather conditions.

We achieved the first goal by employing a “towed bird” sensor configuration. The sensor is slung below the craft by a special designed light weight mount system, allowing sufficient craft-sensor separation and achieving low drag and no noticeable reduction in flight time. The remaining requirements pushed us away from fixed wing platforms and into multicopters for a number of reasons. With the UAV-MAG system, we can launch from the middle of a survey grid in heavily forested, steep terrain and not worry about takeoff and landing. Once in the air, the UAV-MAG™ takes care of the rest by flying the survey autonomously and returning home for landing. We found this invaluable for remote surveys. The small size of the platform, compared to a fixed wing system allows fast flight launching and easy transport. We can carry our fully flight-ready system by hand, ATV or vehicle, and launch within minutes. No complicated launching platforms, or landing fields required. What we have created is a truly versatile survey platform for multiple sensor packages, essentially a Swiss Army knife UAV, and our clients so far have been extremely pleased with the results and reduced survey costs.”

-Michael Burns, President, Pioneer Exploration Consultants Ltd.

For more information about our UAV-MAG™ Surveys, or to request a quote, please contact Michael Burns at: michael.burns@pioneerexploration.ca

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