The location tracking of underground mines can be traced back to the 1980s when RFID (Radio Frequency ID) Tag Readers were used. These RFID tags would be read by the vehicles and miners. New real-time location tracking (RTLS), such as WiFI, UWB, and UWB, scanning, and even GNSS/GPS, has been created by technological advances.
The best underground RTLS solutions, aside from GNSS scanning and tracking, work on the principle that a "tag reader", which reads a "tag", links that unique information to a surveyed underground tracking point.
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The technology's main components have been around for decades but the majority of mines that use it are still relatively new. What makes underground location tracking so difficult for you?
- Omniquity of tracking technology
There are many RTLS options to choose from. Each solution has its pros and cons. It was difficult to combine these technologies in order to find the "best combination". Mines had to pick one and make do with it. This is no longer the case with system integration. It's now possible to seamlessly use multiple location tracking technologies effectively and efficiently.
- Benefit vs. cost analysis
Cost is the real enemy to underground tracking. GPS tracking on surface is so cost-effective that it is common to see surface mining equipment with multiple GPS receivers. Underground, however we don't have access to satellites in the skies. Underground mines can't be reached without significant infrastructure investment.
Underground location tracking is as standardized as surface technology. Many underground tracking organizations see the goal as deploying a stable, valuable location tracking system that can scale with changing requirements and applications.