Understanding changes in slope geometry and knowledge of underlying engineering properties of the rock mass are essential for the safe design of man-made slopes and to reduce the significant risks associated with slope failure. Recent advances in the geomatics industry have provided the capability to obtain accurate, fully geo-referenced three-dimensional datasets that can be subsequently interrogated to provide engineering-based solutions for monitoring of deformation processes, rock mass characterization and additional insight into any underlying failure mechanisms. Importantly, data can also be used to spatially locate and map geological features and provide displacement or deformation rate information relating to movement of critical sections or regions of a slope.

This paper explores the benefits that can be obtained by incorporating different remote sensing techniques and conventional measurement devices to provide a comprehensive database required for development of an effective slope monitoring and risk management program. The integration of different techniques, such as high accuracy discrete point measurement at critical locations, which can be used to complement larger scale less dense three-dimensional survey will be explored. Case studies using a combination of aerial and terrestrial laser scanning, unmanned aerial vehicle and hand-held scanning devices will demonstrate their ability to provide spatial data for informing decision making processes and ensuring compliance with Regulations.

1. Introduction

In recent years, there has been considerable advancements in the geospatial industry, with focus placed on capturing the real world in an unprecedented amount of detail. This increased focus on capturing large datasets has exposed engineers in the mining and minerals industry to data that would have been previously unimaginable. Different remote sensing technologies are now available, each having specific benefits for engineering geology-based applications: such as rock mass characterization, spatial analyses and monitoring of deformation processes. Nevertheless, despite the potential advantages of each remote sensing technique, there are associated limitations that should be considered depending on the nature of the problem one is dealing with. This could lead to the necessity to integrate different techniques to obtain complete and detailed data to be used for different purposes.

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