Through incorporating mining underground and aboveground data into GIS infrastructure, we began to manage data between the field and the office—a fundamental element of the mining design and operations process. As a result, we can make decisions more effectively.
In Turkey, GIS Ensures Responsible Mining Operations at a Power Plant
Local government officials in the Tufanbeyli district of Turkey knew they needed private-sector involvement for the development of a new lignite power plant. In 2001, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority made significant legal regulations because fossil fuels—like oil, coal, and gas—were contributing to Turkey's high amount of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which caused the country's economy to lose money from imports. A brown coal used for electricity generation, lignite has the least concentration of carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions of plants that use it. Government officials partnered with Enerjisa Üretim, an energy company with a mission to invest in flexible and high-efficiency renewable energy resources.
In 2016 the domestic lignite power plant opened and is now the largest domestic lignite power plant in Turkey. With a production capacity of 450 megawatts, the plant now meets approximately 2 percent of Turkey's energy demand. Plant staff accomplished this by integrating geographic information system (GIS) software, which modernized operations to connect on-site miners to mobile workers and tracked spatial data.
Tufanbeyli district officials used to rely on paper-based forms, which required them to spend more time in the field collecting and verifying data. This process was necessary for engineers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the mining site. However, it resulted in wasted time and money for the company. Additionally, the traveling to do extra verification meant that the plant was expending more on emissions, contributing to its carbon footprint. Officials required a solution to view mapped orthoimagery, or digitized aerial photos; track spatial information; and analyze data—all without the need for manual paper forms.
Enerjisa Üretim partnered with Esri Turkey to deploy ArcGIS Online, a cloud-based software for creating and sharing interactive web maps. Esri Turkey first connected Enerjisa staff with a team of GIS experts from Esri Services to learn how to use ArcGIS Online and GIS mobile applications for managing field operations and data collection.
This in-depth support allowed Enerjisa staff to build their own application using ArcGIS Survey123 for miners to collect field data and display it on maps. Questions on the form included how many programs were in each region and what category the problem belonged in, such as traffic or orderliness. Additionally, the form included questions from the mining sites regarding safety, complaints, or other occupational health concerns the miners had. It was important to collect this information to quickly resolve concerns and analyze topics for further process improvement.
The forms allow in-office workers to analyze data and track issues with greater ease, speed, and accuracy. Decision-makers can now access data through an online portal structure to communicate with each other to understand where, how, and when action should be taken to address issues. And because it is cloud based, staff can access the portal anywhere at any time.
Now, plant staff who collect data in the field can control workflows and make data accessible to those in the office via web browsers. Field data is shared to a real-time map detailing information, like the ratio of soil cover to excavation, average temperatures, machine locations, rock or mineral information, production data, and geological-hydrogeological data. Mobile teams can also effectively use orthoimagery to perform more accurate spatial analysis.
These processes have made collaboration between teams easier and more efficient. Moreover, by removing paper-based systems, human error has been reduced.
Looking ahead, the Enerjisa production teams plan to organize solutions in the mine to help other central facility staff members spread the knowledge and usability of GIS solutions to monitor all mining activities in real time. Additionally, officials leading sustainability efforts saw how power plant staff used GIS to optimize operations, and this success is now guiding further infrastructure improvements including accessible roads, better waterways, and increased green spaces.