BGC Engineering and LOOOK develop mixed reality solution to transform the world of mining
Imagine having the ability to look 50 years into the future by standing in the reclaimed landscape of a project just after breaking ground. Imagine exploring a 3D virtual mine on a boardroom table while collaborating with engineers and colleagues all over the world. Imagine showing stakeholders technical, difficult-to-understand 2D drawings in a 3D mixed reality environment to demonstrate what a project will look like before, during and after its lifecycle. Imagine being able to identify problems before shovels hit the ground.
With BGC Engineering’s (BGC) holographic visualization tool, this is a reality—mixed reality—today.
Bringing technical 2D maps to life
The mining industry relies on 2D drawings and maps to outline geotechnical and construction aspects of earth science projects, whether it’s an access road, plant site, pit design, pipeline or tailings dam. However, within the industry, most of us have years of training and experience; when we see those drawings, we see technical details, descriptions and data points—we see the complete picture.
Outside of the mining industry, most people don’t.
The general public, and community stakeholders, typically see lines on maps and numbers on static documents. For them, these lines and numbers signal changes for surrounding communities and landscapes.
BGC’s holographic visualization tool, developed with Seattle-based mixed reality and development studio LOOOK, using Microsoft’s Hololens technology, converts these 2D engineering drawings into 3D holographic renderings that allow all stakeholders to experience the entire lifecycle of a mining project, ask questions and become an informed participant in the decision-making process.
Bringing stakeholders on board and communicating a shared vision leads to streamlined project management and brings the scope and scale of complex infrastructure projects to life for both the technical and non-technical stakeholder.
Revolutionizing communication with stakeholders locally and globally
Few other engineering or development firms are exploring the mixed reality space in the same way as BGC and LOOOK. A number of other virtual and augmented reality solutions are focused on virtual reality, which does not allow users to engage with each other, ask questions easily, or interact with the visualizations in their existing environment—whether that happens to be the boardroom or a mine site.
At the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference (PDAC), the feedback BGC received from clients and investors was that the mixed reality solution developed by BGC Engineering and LOOOK is significantly more developed and effective at communicating complex projects than virtual reality solutions.
BGC Engineering and LOOOK took on this project to offer clients and their stakeholders easy-to-use, intuitive, and illustrative tools that allow honest and immediate discussions to take place in an interactive way.
Helping achieve social license with stakeholders
Community concerns are as vast and diverse as the projects themselves. The two hurdles that communities and mining companies often confront are either over -or under- estimating the impact a mining project will have on surrounding communities. For example, “I didn’t realize this was going to take so long” to “That did not take as long as I expected.”
What rarely changes, however, is the struggle mining companies face in helping communities understand how their environments will change, and subsequently be restored, through 2D drawings, or maybe a 3D printed model. To fully understand a project’s scope, scale and potential impacts, BGC’s holographic visualization tool allows community members and stakeholders to step into a project landscape at any stage of development and interact with it.
This enhanced engagement will ultimately lead to smarter designs, more informed decisions and a deeper understanding of a project’s technical aspects.
Cutting-edge technology that is here today
BGC’s holographic visualization tool is the first of its kind—and has already shown it works in real-life situations. The current proof of concept is based on a real location in Alberta, reflecting the actual scope and scale of mines in the region, and incorporating terrain and engineering data sets to accurately demonstrate the platform’s core functionality.
BGC Engineering is currently developing a stand-alone solution to work on any project site in the world, which is ready for use.
In terms of costs, a platform like BGC’s holographic visualization tool only represents a small fraction of a project’s total design and development budget, potentially leading to significant cost savings by promoting streamlined operations and reducing project delays.
Getting the most out of BGC’s holographic visualization tool
BGC’s holographic visualization tool is ready for any company willing to take their project management, community engagement, and investor relations to the next level with the goal of helping clients enhance shareholder value, achieve social license for a project, and reduce project costs.
Through BGC’s strategic partnership with LOOOK, BGC’s holographic visualization tool allows shareholders to examine new projects with unprecedented clarity and detail. From visualizing each stage of project development, to addressing engineering challenges before putting shovels in the ground, BGC’s solution facilitates visual updates on project development to investors throughout a project’s life cycle.
With BGC’s holographic visualization tool whether it’s for mining, pipelines, or transportation, technical and non-technical stakeholders can be excited, informed and engaged about the projects that transform their communities
About the author
BGC Engineering Inc. (BGC) is an international consulting firm that provides professional services in applied earth sciences. Learn more at www.bgcengineering.ca. LOOOK harnesses the power of holographic, mixed reality to create meaningful applications for companies, organizations and individuals. Learn more at www.loook.io.