Integrated Search Solution, Mining Exploration

Services Business Analysis, Project Management and Development

About our Client

Our client is one of the world’s top five mining companies with multiple commodity assets on numerous continents. Within Australia they have an extensive integrated mining operation.

The situation

Our client required an integrated search environment to allow the search of spatial data and text from documents, GIS, geophysical and geochemical repositories. Exploration geoscientists think spatially, so they required a system that would allow them to search from within their normal operating environment, but display integrated results on a map or in lists. Of particular importance was the extraction and use of spatial metadata including references to place names and projects from legacy archives of documents.

The solution

The initial approach focused on a due diligence of products available for identifying spatial information in text or scanned documents. MetaCarta was recommended and implemented because it used natural language processing to find coordinates, place names and relative references within document text, and placed the documents on a map. Empired implemented an advanced Silverlight-based user interface on top of MetaCarta.

Internal project information and public/subscription services for mining were used to build up more than 20,000 project and exploration locations, on top of those already known to MetaCarta.

Great care was taken in preventing sensitive information from being exposed through search. In particular, with the unknown content of decades of old scanned documents, tools like Active Navigation were used to analyse sensitive content and prepare for migration into managed repositories.

MetaCarta also delivers a plug-in for ArcGIS Desktop so that geoscientists can conduct the searches from within environments they are familiar with. The capability was extended to link to other search technologies and the end solution will allow an integrated search of SharePoint repositories, file shares and ArcGIS geodatabases.

The benefits

The goal of the business is to find the next Tier 1 discovery, which is defined as deposits that contribute disproportionately to global production of a commodity due to their size and character. The process by which a geoscientist accumulates information is enhanced by integrated search tools.

Being able to search documents based on map extents allows the geoscientists to associate other spatial information with the search. In this way, search results can include coordinate references, place names, project names and directional references (something like ‘48km NE of Newman’), and display these documents with drill hole data, geophysical survey maps, magnetic maps etc.

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