Drones livestream South African mining operations “Blasts”to overseas team members.

SOURCE AvInteractive / AV magazine /Guy Campos : Premier Mapping Africa specialises in state-of-the-art aerial photography and surveillance via unmanned aircraft for mining, engineering and geospatial markets in South Africa.

Under the direction of senior surveyor Andrew Donald, the company recently developed a drone-based aerial surveillance system powered by the AJA HELO H.264 streamer/recorder to provide mining companies with high-fidelity livestreams of mine activities, whether for viewing controlled blasts or reviewing operations remotely in real-time.

Ideal for international mining companies with teams dispersed across global offices, the livestream system delivers low-latency 1080p footage of mine activity to a secure content delivery network (CDN) in near real-time.

“Our expertise lies in mine survey and surveillance, and innovating new solutions to help improve client operations. 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,” saidd Donald. “I was referred to HELO by industry colleagues at an aerial production equipment rental company, and the device has worked out so well that I haven’t even thought about trying alternatives. HELO does everything we need it to do, and with solid performance in the field.”

Donald initially built the system to support one of its clients, a global mining corporation. The company needed a reliable, cost-efficient solution for sharing live blast footage from excavation sites in Mokopane, South Africa, with team members in the US and Australia.

The solution leverages a DJI drone system to capture 4K/UltraHD 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 can adjust recording parameters, camera settings and exposures. A 10m HDMI cable and ethernet are used to

transmit the 1080p feed from the controller to a HELO unit located in a nearby truck. The ethernet cable is also connected to a router in the truck, and 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. Donald and his 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.

“HELO is easy to configure and use, and it’s about as plug-and-play as you can get,” said Donald. “AJA support has also been fantastic in guiding our team through any challenges on-site.”

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