How to protect the planet – even in the back end of beyond

08 September 2016

Paul Gapes

  • enterprise

  • m2m

In a time where there is a concerted global effort underway to minimise the impact that our collective, day-to-day activities have on our planet, environmental compliance is big news.

Corporations are being held to account for their actions, especially in high impact industries like mining, with a spotlight being shone on poorly managed operations that are failing in their duty to act sustainably.

In Australia, Local, State and Federal Governments have developed stringent environmental regulations to minimise mining’s short and long term impact on the planet and to protect the health of workers and surrounding communities.

One such area of concern has been the direct effect on underground water tables (and ultimately the surrounding ecosystem) of mining operations. Environmental compliance dictates that companies must provide greater visibility of their impacts through regular data reporting.

Monitoring bore wells is one way to ensure underground water tables are not compromised. However, with these bore wells often being in remote locations, it is impractical and expensive to regularly travel and take manual measurements on site, so remote monitoring is often the best solution.

After being approached by a large mining company to provide a bore well monitoring solution, our team at Pacific Data Systems set to work. It soon became clear that typical 3G/4G infrastructure was not going to be able to deliver regular reporting on the state of bore wells so, early on during the design process, we looked to Inmarsat as the solution to providing a reliable connection via satellite.

The result was SatVUE – a simple, solar (or battery) powered, cost effective data acquisition system, that can be deployed in a number of minutes. With the SatVUE device placed on top of the bore with a level/pressure sensor attached, readings are monitored at a pre-configured interval and sent via Inmarsat’s IsaData Pro service to a web server. From here, the mining company can remotely access or download the data, as well as configure the system in the field, all via a dedicated web portal that is accessed via any internet-enabled device.

As a low capital, and low operational, expenditure solution, SatVUE lets mining companies give greater visibility. This ensures that they are meeting environmental regulations, which in turn minimises the potential of fines and penalties being imposed upon them by governing bodies, and helps them demonstrate they are good corporate citizens. So it’s good for them, and good for the planet.

About the CAP programme

Inmarsat’s Certified Application Partner programme gives third party developers the opportunity to expand their innovative solutions beyond the boundaries of cellular and fixed networks by making them compatible with our satellite communication networks.  Together, we are focused on powering the Internet of Everywhere with tailor-made communications solutions that bring genuine business benefits on land, at sea and in the air.

About the author

Paul Gapes is the General Manager of Pacific Data Systems who for over 30 years have been providing custom environmental monitoring, data acquisition and systems integration solutions across a broad range of industries, including mining, oil / gas / energy, construction, manufacturing, agricultural, government, transport, health, security, waste management and horticulture.

Paul has been with Pacific Data Systems for 10 years, prior to which he served as a naval seamanship officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Early in Paul’s naval career, he specialised in electronic warfare in the submarine arm. The knowledge gained during this service was crucial in cultivating his systems and integration knowledge which is used extensively within his current role today.

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