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How best practice land rehabilitation monitoring programs are utilising remote sensing technology

Mine Rehabilitation & Closure / Mining & Resources

How best practice land rehabilitation monitoring programs are utilising remote sensing technology

Highlights

  • While remote sensing is no longer a new concept in land rehabilitation, it has yet to be fully integrated into monitoring best practices
  • Decipher brings together a continuously evolving suite of remotely sensed indices into one easy-to-use, powerful system

 

Monitoring from space, commonly known as Earth Observations, is transforming the way organisations and individuals are understanding and seeing the world around us.

Since satellites started orbiting the Earth, their monitoring programs have become increasingly ambitious and provide a means to access comprehensive imagery and insights into the Earths landscape at a large scale. Earth Observations data is being increasingly utilised across a variety of applications such as urban development and infrastructure, climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability, agriculture, water management and mineral resources management.

Remote Sensing

What is remote sensing?

In contrast to on-site observation, remote sensing is the process of detecting and monitoring the physical characteristics of an area without physically being there, typically using data acquired from satellites, aircraft or UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles).

Remote sensing can:

  • Dramatically improve the spatial scale of rehabilitation monitoring, by providing access to a range of image capture options and continually improving imagery resolution
  • Improve the accuracy and reproducibility of monitoring data
  • Minimise health and safety risks related to on-ground monitoring of remote or difficult to access areas
  • Reduce costs by decreasing the field survey effort required
  • Help keep mining companies up to date
  • Compliment traditional rehabilitation monitoring methods

Developing a best practice monitoring program

While remote sensing is no longer a new concept in land rehabilitation, it has yet to be fully integrated into monitoring best practices. So should remote sensing be a standardised approach alongside traditional, on the ground environmental monitoring? The answer: it depends on the project – the site’s state, planned length of monitoring, vegetation, predicated outcomes, budget and traditional monitoring methods.

Site-based methods have long been used to assess compositional, structural and functional attributes as indicators of vegetation condition, and these methods continue to be used widely today. With developing technologies, remote sensing methods are being employed increasingly for monitoring a range of remotely detectable properties of vegetation, and there is now a growing demand to integrate the two approaches for mapping and monitoring vegetation condition across a range of indices.

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Monitoring can help determine the extent and cause of changes to vegetation, and has been undertaken extensively with a range of motivations including meeting legislative and compliance responsibilities, providing accountability for land managers, and maintaining a social licence to operate.

There are a number of options for developing cost-effective monitoring programs that utilise a combination of remote sensing and on-ground methods.

Approaches may involve:

  • Using whole-site remote sensing in the early stages of rehabilitation, which can aid detection of problem areas early on and ultimately save closure costs at the end of mine life
  • Using historical satellite imagery as a change detection analysis tool to identify and demonstrate trends
  • Alternating remote sensing with on-ground assessments, or when both are required concurrently, the length of the fieldwork time needed may be substantially reduced
  • Modification of existing aerial imagery capture programs to include multi-spectral data capture or to extend the area captured to include rehabilitated and surrounding areas in a cost-effective manner

 

Decipher’s Earth Observations

Decipher brings together a continuously evolving suite of remotely sensed indices into one easy-to-use, powerful system

Earth Observations - Module - Mine Rehabilitation

Decipher, utilsing Google Earth Engine in our cloud-based platform, is at the forefront of this new era of utilising satellite images and datasets, and are helping pave the way for additional research and increased utilisation and application everywhere.

Our library of available indices is constantly evolving to meet the demands of various customer requirements and our highly interactive interface allows usres to apply it to other datasets and ‘real life’ scenarios. With results dating back to the late 1980’s (Google Earth historical imagery) and being updated with every satellite flyover (Google Earth real time satellite images), users can benefit from accessing time series datasets of conditions pre and post objectives to better understand and demonstrate performance across selected satellite derived indices.

Learn more about Decipher’s powerful Earth Observations module


Decipher’s Closure and Rehabilitation Solution

Our solution empowers you with the data and knowledge to drive progressive land rehabilitation and closure

 

Decipher provides you with the data and insights to ensure you’re meeting your environmental obligations and compliance, but also provides the expertise and advice to have your company leading the way in progressive sustainability and rehabilitation.

 

Having grown out of the Industrials Division of Wesfarmers, we offer you best practice insights and lessons from the Agricultural industry as leaders in nutrition planning, creating management zones, and identifying and addressing variability which is today being used to shape mine site rehabilitation legislation and best practice approaches.

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