A Disruptive Influence – How To Make Drones Work For Us

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Date(s) - 19/07/2018
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The Mallow


Ballarat Technical Meeting – July 2018

“A Disruptive Influence – How To Make Drones Work For Us”

Steven Micklethwaite, , Monash University


Date & Time

Thursday 19 July, 2018
From 7:30pm



Mallow Hotel
20 Skipton Street – upstairs
Ballarat VIC



Drones are becoming common place. They have totally changed how we get aerial imagery of landscape and outcrop, or 3D models of stockpiles and open pits. But, like a talented yet difficult child, we know there is more to them than that. How do we turn pretty models into useful data? What other sensors can we put on them? And, how many different ways could we possibly make use of them? In this talk I will try to answer these questions and more. Starting from the basics of digital photogrammetry by drone, we will go on to look at what can be done now with smart approaches to data analysis or different sensors, including geophysics. With just a little bit of work, sometimes a disruptive influence could become a whole lot of fun.


Presenter Bio

Steven Micklethwaite is an Earth Scientist working on drone and sensor applications to as many parts of the minerals industry value chain that will listen to him. He collaborates closely with aeronautical engineers and robotic vision scientists. One recent project achieved automated drone flight with collision avoidance in underground tunnels and stopes, semi-automatic mapping, measurement of fault and fracture surfaces and integration of data into industry-standard 3-D modelling workflows (e.g. Leapfrog Geo). He is Director of the nascent Drone Discovery Platform, Monash University. This facility includes a range of drone platforms, multiple sensors (photogrammetry, LiDAR, VNIR-SWIR and L-band radar), and was funded by a large Australian Research Council infrastructure grant (~AUD$1.3M total, LIEF).

Current interests include developing;

  1. real-time 3D modelling capabilities (e.g. Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping),
  2. precise photogrammetric model generation, in order to achieve sub-cm change detection for problems like slope stability monitoring, erosion etc,
  3. AI for automatic map making and infrastructure monitoring,
  4. geophysical sensors for multiple small UAS platforms (e.g. magnetic and gravity sensors).

Steven is based at Monash University and has worked with the minerals industry for 16 years. He previously held positions at the Australian National University, University of Tasmania (CODES), and University of Western Australia (CET), and was recipient of the Rising Stars Award and a Hammond-Nisbet Fellowship.



It’s free entry. All welcome. Cash bar and meals available.


More information

Abstract, bio, past presentations and more info at:

Want to present or know someone who should? Email



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