Thinking Big

Our customers like to think big. By that, we mean BIG.

Rock Products Sept 2015 magazine issue features the Top 100 Crushed Stone Producers. We do business with over 25% of the major producers on that list.

The contour lines from a washed sand stockpile recently measured by drone. The pile's tonnage total was over half a million tons: 585,165.
The contour lines from a washed sand stockpile recently measured by drone. The pile’s tonnage total was over half a million tons: 585,165.

Those clients aren’t satisfied with what is the ‘norm’. Business as usual isn’t providing the data needed fast enough, with report accuracy that the CFO can count on.

They looked for new measurement solutions and discovered us.

Stockpile Reports’ continued success is due to our accuracy, fast reporting and also for the flexibility it gives clients such as the Texas Department of Transportation. The TxDOT utilizes Stockpile Reports’ platform state-wide for measurements. The platform supports measurements using  iPhone, drone and plane data.

The demand for fast results and measurements in a myriad of configurations has certainly kept us on our toes! There are some BIG stockpiles out there, in many various configurations. Our team has literally viewed thousands of different stockpiles now, and unsurprisingly many present big challenges for measurement.

Some of those piles are too large to measure with an iPhone. Some are next to water. Some are in very busy environments with lots of truck traffic.

The reconstructed point cloud made from the drone's flight data.
The reconstructed point cloud made from the drone’s flight data.

And some clients not only want one site measured, they want their entire enterprise measured at once, across states. We’re talking thousands of piles. That’s big.

That’s a reason why we are excited that clients are beginning to utilize UAVs (drones) for measurement, and also why we offer site measurements by aerial. The average labor time for clients who utilize aerials for measurements is 20 minutes. That’s not big at all— but the time saved, and the reporting data resulting from using aerials IS big.

Here’s a stat that keeps getting bigger: so far, iPhone measurements have been performed by 967 unique users from 264 companies.

Do you want to think big, and try new methods of stockpile measurements for your company? Contact us. If you do, you’ll also discover another reason why our business is growing. We’re nice people, too.

Weather Your Seasonal Measurements

rainysite

This time of year is shoulder season, when temps and weather conditions are extremely changeable. Rain, wind, snow, sleet, storms, sunshine, dust, fog, heat and hail happen!

It doesn’t matter what is happening outside, though. Companies throughout the world still need to track inventory. Our clients in Europe, North America, South America, Australia and South Africa all share the same inventory challenges, despite how different the weather is at those locations.

Frequency, Safety, Efficiency

Make a measurement plan and be prepared for the weather.rainbow

Monthly: Utilize aerial measurements for site-wide inventory purposes each month.

Keep your boots off the ground. Measuring a site, or multiple sites, by plane is the fastest and safest method to gather data of all uncovered stockpiles. Here is how easy and fast the process is:

Step One: Client requests an aerial flight.
Step Two: Client tags the piles with material.
Step Three: Client view the results online.

Our customers typically spend 20 minutes of internal labor time per flight.

Online access to site and stockpile reports are available within hours after the flight. There is no action needed from clients other than tagging the outlined stockpiles online after the flight.

Daily: Go outside and make spot-checks onsite during operations. Simply use the iPhone in your measurement mix.

It only takes minutes for one of your team to measure an individual stockpile. You can also use the iPhone for inside and outside bunker measurements. If you’ve got a break in the weather, go outside and measure. There’s no need to wait for a third party to arrive and pay them to do the measurements.

Complement your ground-based imagery by drone. If you’ve got one and are certified to fly it, go for it! This might be a great solution if you have a few hours available to measure a smaller site, or very large stockpiles. Upload the data to us and we will process it and provide reporting.

The Best of Ground and Air

Whatever method you choose for measuring the piles on your site(s), the report results will be ready online in hours.

Your quarry will have the information needed to make operational business decisions on a weekly or monthly basis, and the CFO will have the numbers to manage inventory.

A Big Year for Drones

This has been a big year for UAVs. At the start of 2015, only about a dozen companies droneflighthad been granted special exemptions by the FAA to fly drones, and most of those were for filming on a closed set.

Now there are well over 1000 commercial exemptions to fly drones, for varying businesses such as agriculture, construction, security services, mining, oil and gas, utilities, emergency and disaster responses, and more.

In fact, in early August of 2015 Forbes reported that the FAA was approving applications at a rate of 50 per week.

Here is an excellent series of maps illustrating the geographic spread of the industry. As you can see, drone usage and interest from businesses is widespread throughout the US.

Commercial-Exemptions
Commercial Drone Exemptions Map, from the Center of the Study of the Drone

As a further illustration of industry interest, Stockpile Reports has begun meeting with new Drone/UAV Managers. They work in several companies that use our iPhone as a stockpile inventory management tool. Our top aggregate, mining and construction customers are very excited by drone surveying technology. They are interested in how data from drones can be integrated into a safe and automated workflow for stockpile measurements.

These companies ask us a lot of questions.

The UAV is not a new a surveying tool for our team. We’ve worked with various drone models throughout the world, in many environments and business applications since 2013. Our clients have measured stockpiles of varying material ranging from coal to gravel via UAV. These sites around the world continue to have a range of challenges that include wind, water, are extremely busy, are highly regulated, encompass large areas, have visibility issues, etc.

In addition to our senior support team, we also have a Senior Engineer who used to work for Boeing Aerospace R&D on staff. He is also a pilot, and continues to test and research UAVs and works with aerial data and imagery.

Stockpile Reports is best known for our patented platform utilizing iPhone imagery for stockpile measurements. The platform is also available for imagery collected from drones for subscribers. This truly gives your business the best of ground and air for stockpile measurements.

We believe accurate monthly inventory measurements are derived from a combination of tools. Using a drone alone doesn’t work for every business need or measurement scenario, nor does the iPhone, nor aerial flight measurements. Do you have a drone strategy and want site measurements, or are curious about utilizing a UAV? Contact Us.

Apple Announces iPhone 6s

Apple just announced the release of the iPhone 6s, an imagesof6supdated version of its smartphone, iOS9 with bundled new features and a new color.

Some of our customers may be quite excited about the new Rose Gold color. However, we suspect customers are more interested in the specific benefits that the 6s offers in terms of stockpile measurements.

As you may know, last year’s Apple’s iPhone 6 release offered many improvements, such as a new A8 processor, larger 4.7″ landscape screen size, camera low-light and better focus. We upgraded our Stockpiles app to leverage these features for mining and construction customers.

Here’s a quick overview of the new 6s, and why we are excited about today’s release announcement:

  • Improved camera: 12 megapixel iSight camera, increases the resolution of the images by 50%
  • Improved video: 4K high-definition video, enabling ultra-high definition footage.
  • Sturdier frame: built from a stronger Series 7000 aluminium alloy
  • Strongest cover glass
  • Faster Wifi: up to 866 mps
  • A9 Chip
  • M9 motion co-processor
  • The new iPhones also support up to 23 LTE bands: the most in any smartphone — for better worldwide roaming.

We are most excited about the new video and camera changes. We believe that customers who measure indoor stockpiles and bunkers are going to really appreciate the improved video of the 6s! If your warehouse is lit unevenly, or in lower light you might want to consider getting an iPhone 6s, as it will be able to capture even greater material detail in lower light conditions.

The 6s is arriving just in time for fall and winter. Weaker light outdoors, and rainy/overcast skies are in our near future. This will be an excellent tool to capture more detail in outdoor stockpiles.

In addition to lower light, the temps will also begin to drop in winter. Many of you will begin working in slippery conditions. Having stronger cover glass may prove useful if the iPhone is accidentally dropped.

Don’t have to worry about low light? Great! Customers in sunny areas will see even better results on low-contrast surfaces, such as white and fine sand while utilizing the new 4K video.

The iPhone is available for pre-order September 12. Stockpile Reports’ developers have been working with the new iOS 9, to ensure that our app is compatible with Apple’s release. We are very excited about today’s announcement!

 

 

Proud Members of These Industry Associations

Stockpile Reports supports the sustainability of the rock products industry through active involvement in the various state and national communities and associations.

We are excited to be a new member of the Arizona Rock Products Association. ARPA Logo_BelowARPA represents companies producing nearly all the aggregate materials in the State of Arizona. This includes producers or suppliers of aggregate, asphaltic concrete, ready mix concrete, asphalt and portland cement, as well as trucking firms, paving contractors and other aggregate end users, material testing labs and ancillary companies.

ARPA has several resources on their website, ranging from education to local activism and national news.

Other statewide organizations and associations that Stockpile Reports belong to is the Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association (TACA). Texas TACA logoTACA members represent 80% of the aggregates, 100% of the cement, and 75% of the concrete produced in Texas today. For those of you based in Texas, you may have seen Stockpile Reports’ new member profile in the 2014 TACA Conveyor magazine.  Although we are also somewhat new to TACA, we’ve enjoyed the resources and connections from the association.

We are also proud members of The Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association, which represents over 90% of aggregate production in Indiana. The IMAA was founded in 1934, and continues to be very active! We’ve been members since 2013 and imaa-logohave found our membership with them to be invaluable. We were an exhibitor at 2014’s IMAA Winter Workshop and Trade Show, held in Indianapolis.

Close to our home base, Stockpile Reports has had an active role in the state of Washington’s Aggregates and Concrete Association. WACA membership is always working toward new environmental, land use and community solutions, to promote a cooperative relationship with the Washington citizens and communities. Stockpile Reports’ CEO David Boardman presented ‘Technology in the Palm of Your Hand’ to WACA members during a Winter Workshop.

We are also very proud members of the National Sand, Stone & Gravel Association (NSSGA). The NSSGA is the world’s largest mining association by volume and represents the construction aggregates industry. The NSSGA’s mission is to advance public policies that protect and expand the safe, environmentally responsible use of aggregates that build America’s infrastructure and economy.WACA logo

The NSSGA sponsored the hugely successful AGG1 event. We were exhibiters there, and had a great time– in fact, we’ve already committed to be at the AGG1 event in 2016. Their event page has NSSGA logoinformation about other upcoming events and webinars.

Stockpile Reports is a member of SME: the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration. SME is dedicated to be the premier professional society for the worldwide mining and mineral community. They have excellent benefits and resources for industry professionals. Members also receive a free monthly subscription to Mining Engineering magazine. You may have seen us in April 2015’s edition of Mining Engineering. We also exhibited in 2014’s SME conference, held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

The New FAA Rules for Drones

The FAA recently announced new safety regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems (under 55 pounds) conducting non-recreational operations. The proposed UAS rules limit flights to daylight and visual line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.A DJI Phantom hovering above a stockpile.

These new rules don’t affect recreational users, or ‘hobbyists’. They are still free to pilot their model planes around their backyards. The policy for recreational use has not changed.

Operators

Under the proposed rule, the person actually flying a small UAS would be an “operator.” An operator would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an FAA UAS operator certificate. To maintain certification, the operator would have to pass the FAA knowledge tests every 24 months.

Operators are required to maintain a visual line of sight of a small UAS. The rule would allow an operator to work with a visual observer who would maintain constant visual contact with the aircraft. The operator would still need to be able to see the UAS with unaided vision (except for glasses).

We at Stockpile Reports are very excited with this progress from the FAA, which encourages safety and responsible use. Imagery from UAS, or ‘drones’ will benefit mining, construction and aggregates industries, and should support rapid turnarounds for on-demand volume measurements here in the USA.

Stockpile Reports currently utilizes drone imagery from certified fliers in Australia and generates measurement reports for our clients ‘down under’. Drones are called RPAs in Australia, which stands for “Remotely Piloted Aircraft.” The guidelines for RPA usage have been in place for some time, and continue to be revised due to increased popularity of usage and various safety incidents.

Trimble Dimensions 2014

Stockpile Reports traveled to Las Vegas this week for the Trimble Dimensions 2014 international event as an attendee and as a presenter. The conference facilitated attendees to network with industry colleagues and also discover new developments in technology.

Our presentation was held Tuesday afternoon by David Boardman, our CEO: 5,000 Stockpile Measurements from the Field to the CFO in 24 hours – with an iPhone. His presentation touched on how reality indexing will help solve major business challenges on and offsite. The discussion and demonstration covered current 3D computer generation, customer-use cases, and solving inventory measurement challenges in the construction, mining and aggregates industry. Pit & Quarry Magazine was in attendance during the entire Trimble event. They were there for David’s presentation and published an overview online.

There were several sessions held daily for three days at the Mirage Hotel and Conference Center, with many companies showcasing their products on the exhibition floor. When the sessions were done during the day, the networking officially began at night!

Welcome to Trimble Dimensions 2014!
Welcome to Trimble Dimensions 2014!
A full house, waiting for the Keynote presentation Monday morning.
A full house, waiting for the Keynote presentation Monday morning.
Photo of Keynote speaker Greg 'Boss' Wooldridge
Keynote speaker Greg ‘Boss’ Wooldridge,
former Commanding Officer of the Blue Angels talks about the need for high performance and effective leadership.
photo of truck at Trimble Dimensions
From the exhibition floor.
Photo of lunch attendees.
Breakout time for lunch before the afternoon sessions begin.

boat

photo of attendees at Trimble Dimensions
Networking with attendees from all around the world.
Photo of reception
Monday night’s Pavilion Reception– terrific entertainment, food and a chance to mingle.
Entertainment and impersonators kept the party rockin'!
Entertainment and impersonators kept the party rockin’ Monday night!
A view from the airport. The conference adjourns following the Gala Dinner Wednesday evening.
A view from the airport. The conference adjourns following the Gala Dinner Wednesday evening.

The 2014 CHS Conference in St. Louis

Stockpile Reports was honored to be a conference speaker in the 2014 Coal Handling and Storage Conference. This was our first event in the coal industry that we’ve attended and it proved to be an enjoyable way to meet new people, share ideas and experience the exhibition in a historic hotel. It was also an excellent event to learn from industry experts with various disciplines.

The CHS Conference was held in the beautiful St. Louis Union Station Hotel– you’ll see from the photos we are posting that it was the perfect place for a coal conference.

The station opened on September 1, 1894, and was owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis. At its height, the station combined the St. Louis passenger services of 22 railroads, the most of any single terminal in the world. At its opening, it was the world’s largest and busiest railroad station. In the 1940s, it handled 100,000 passengers a day. The famous photograph of Harry S. Truman holding aloft the erroneous Chicago Tribune headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman,” was shot at the station as Truman headed back to Washington, DC from Independence, Missouri after the 1948 Presidential election.

Our presentation “5000 Stockpile Measurements from the Field to the CFO in 24 Hours– with an iPhone?” was held the last day of the event, on Wednesday October 22. It covered 3D computer generation, with current and future cloud-based computing capabilities applicable to the mining industry. Measuring 5000 stockpiles and receiving accurate measurements within 24 hours is based in reality, and where the future and business is headed. Our demo included examples in the mining industry.

Coal Handling and Storage Website
Coal Handling and Storage Website
From Seattle to St. Louis's Union Station Terminal Hotel.
From Seattle to St. Louis’s Union Station Terminal Hotel.
An unexpected surprise-- a camera exhibit in the St. Louis Airport.
An unexpected surprise– a camera exhibit in the St. Louis Airport.
stlouisreception
Early evening conference reception for attendees, followed the next day by presentations about stockpile management.
stlouisstationinterior
A panoramic view of the hotel’s historic interior.
stlouisslideshow
Excellent conference sessions ranging from industry best practices to systems and safety challenges.

5000 iPhone Measurement Milestone

Congratulations to our customers! They’ve reached a new milestone– customers from 9 countries have measured over 5000 stockpiles using our patent-pending Stockpiles App on an iPhone! The combined weight of iPhone stockpile volume measurements adds up to 25,947,846 tons.

Have you considered how easy and cost-effective it would be to measure your stockpiles with an iPhone?  Contact us to find out how your business can benefit from our service today. You may even qualify for a no-cost trial of our service. Just fill out the form on the page and let us know you are interested.

Image of 5000 stockpiles measured by iPhone

 

Stockpiles App Updated for Mining and Construction

iphone 5 and 6
Jonathan and Galen demonstrate the different sizes of iPhone 6 and 5.

This has been a big week for us! We officially announced our newest Stockpiles App update, optimized for the Apple® iPhone®6, utilizing Apple’s advanced iOS 8 operating system.

We are helping construction, mining and aggregates businesses take advantage of Apple’s Focus Pixels and larger landscape display screen, capturing video measurements in lower-light. Stockpile reports are generated quickly within 24-hours, with volume accuracy comparable to LiDAR.

A 3D stockpile reconstruction and contour map from a stockpile measured with an iPhone.
A 3D stockpile reconstruction and corresponding contour map from a measured stockpile.

iPhone 6 Stockpiles App Benefits:

Measurement results are produced and documented within 24 hours, with reconstructed video, photo, date, time, material type, tonnage, who measured and date measured are provided with a corresponding stockpile contour map.

Stockpiles are labeled and displayed as both individual sites on a Google Map and as a separate stockpile report. Users can view changing shape of individual stockpiles and locations on site over time.

iPhone 6 camera brings low-light and focus improvements to help reduce sun flare, movement and late afternoon measurements taken at quarries and construction sites in variable weather and temperatures.

New larger 4.7” landscape view enables users to easily select sites and materials via the App with gloves and view through safety glasses.

Stockpile App’s Smart Collect feature utilizes Apple’s new A8 processor. This enables stockpile measurers to review multiple stockpile videos prior to upload, make rotation or speed corrections on the spot, and be confident that the video captures image details necessary to reconstruct 3D volume results.

We’ve already been using the new iPhone 6 to measure stockpiles this week. We don’t require you to upgrade your current iPhone to version 6 to receive excellent measurement results– our team uses a variety of iPhones on-site.

Try the Stockpile Reports service for yourself and receive customized stockpile and site reports. Simply contact us to get set up in our system by filling out the online form.Your company may even qualify for a limited No Cost trial.