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26 Oct 2017 - Technology by Steve Mundell

Interoperability and the connected mine

One of the exciting things about modern mining is the burgeoning recognition that drillhole data is an important business asset. As the technology for the industry advances, it’s becoming apparent no one vendor can provide expertise for all functions in a mining operation. As a result, we’re experiencing unprecedented focus on interoperability between hardware and software vendors.

What is interoperability?

Interoperability is when systems work together to achieve a benefit to the business. It allows businesses to extend the value of existing technology, maximise their investment in specialist systems and leverage past software and hardware purchases. Exchanging data between systems for interoperability is achieved in a number of ways, but the most reliable and accepted method is through an Application Programming Interface (API). As the name suggests, it is an interface allowing different systems to talk to each other. The API requires specific parameters to be present so the data transfer can occur. Data is delivered from the sending application via the API and is populated in way that’s useful to the receiving application.

The connected mine

The number of inputs into the mine planning and decision-making process is increasing, putting an even greater focus on data management and connectivity between systems so that organisations can realise the full value of their data – sooner. This is what we call the connected mine.

The mining industry has turned to technology for efficiency improvements and as mining becomes more reliant on technology, it’s not surprising interoperability is one of the hottest topics going right now.

To meet this growing demand, acQuire has been working on a technology partner program to help the industry implement the connected mine concept. Data is the common denominator in the different technologies so it makes sense for the GIM Suite to be a leader in realising the mine of the future. Our vision for the connected mine is to have data flow seamlessly between technology vendors with the GIM Suite providing a single source of truth for all your geoscientific data. That’s where interoperability plays a major role in the connected mine.

acQuireDirect API for interoperability

acQuire’s API for transfer of drillhole and surface geochem data is called acQuireDirect. It allows a one-way transfer of data. You can take it out of the GIM Suite and export it to other client applications. The capability provides savings of time and money while reducing the amount of manual manipulation required. This in turn retains the integrity of the data by reducing the introduction of unintentional errors into the data.

Users benefit from a seamless transfer of quality data into their work environment for use in a variety of functions throughout a mine. A few examples include:

  • You can perform geological modelling, mining planning, mapping, 3D spatial analysis, and any variety of functions using vendor software
  • You can use data from the GIM Suite as a basis for your reporting by loading it into government reporting structures and .pdf files

Using SmartRefresh to update your data

SmartRefresh is a feature of our API ensuring you’re always working with the most up-to-date version of data. My colleague, Jared Armstrong, explained the benefits of SmartRefresh in a previous newsroom post.

acQuire’s Technology Partners

You can have a look at our technology partners for more information on who’s participating in our interoperability program. Make sure to watch the videos for specific vendors, as well.

Get in touch with us to learn how we fit in the bigger picture of a connected mine.

About the Author
Steve Mundell

Steve is the Director of Product for acQuire Technology Solutions. Before he joined acQuire in 2002, Steve worked as an underground mine geologist. His research interest in information management for the natural resources industry guides the product development for acQuire’s next generation geoscientific information management software.

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