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DEFINITION: Mine surveying is the practice of determining the relative
positions of points on or beneath the surface of the earth by direct or indirect
measurements of distance, direction & elevation.

It is the branch of mining science and engineering that uses measurements

made in the field, and also subsequent geometric constructions, as a basis for
the study of the structure of a deposit, the shape and dimensions of mineral
bodies in the interior and the location in them of components that are useful
and harmful (for mining technology), the properties of enclosing rock, the spatial
arrangement of mine workings, and the processes of stresses in rock and the
earth’s surface in connection with mining work. It also reflects the dynamics of
the production process of a mining enterprise. Mine surveying work is done by
means of mine surveying instruments. Data from mine surveying are
synthesized in mine documentation, which is a set of diagrams produced by
geometric projection. Mine surveying is a composite science that is closely
related to many scientific disciplines: mathematics, engineering, physics,
astronomical geodesy, geology and mineralogy, geological exploration, the
technology of exploitation of deposits, and construction.

Mine surveying is an inseparable part of all stages of mining operations. The

work is done by a mine surveying service that is part of the mining enterprise or
by an organization in charge of exploring the deposit and planning and
construction of the mining enterprise. For detailed exploration of mineral
deposits, the tasks of the mine surveying service include construction of a
reference grid, surveying the earth’s surface, transferring the plan for the
location of exploratory workings to the actual site, and surveying all exploratory
workings, as well as natural and man-made rock exposures. Working with
geologists, mine surveyors use the surveys to compile the diagrams for mining
documentation; the diagrams reflect the volume of exploratory work that has
been done, the condition of the earth’s surface, the shape and dimensions of
bodies of minerals, the quality of the minerals, and the properties of enclosing
rock. Mine surveyors also take part in estimation of geological reserves. During
the planning of mining enterprises, mine surveyors take part in planning and
surveying work, planning the boundaries of mining enterprises and systems for
working the deposit, locating projected buildings and structures in the area of
the mineral deposit, determining safety measures to protect structures against
the harmful influence of mining development, and compiling timetables for the
development of mining work. During the construction of mining enterprises,
the mine surveying service constructs a grid of reference points, transfers the
geometric elements of the construction plan to the actual site, checks on
fulfillment of the planned ratio of geometric elements during installation of
hoisting devices and reinforcing of mineshafts, assigns the direction of mine
workings, makes execution surveys, and prepares the mining documentation
necessary for exploitation of the deposit.

During the exploitation of deposits, the mine surveying service records the
mining enterprise’s production process and compiles the drawings for mine
documentation. As the mine workings progress, the service establishes with
greater accuracy the conditions of bedding of the deposit and the shape of the
mineral body, the quality of the mineral, and the properties of the enclosing
rock. In addition, it compiles diagrams that reflect the structure of the deposit,
the shape of the mineral bodies, the quality of the mineral and distribution of
useful components, the properties of enclosing rock, the dynamics of the
process of rock shifting, and other phenomena that must be known in order to
improve the technological procedures for exploitation of the deposit and to plan
the development of mining work. The direction of mine workings is set, steps
are taken to ensure safety near danger zones and checks are instituted to see
that such measures are taken, observations are made on the shifting of rock and
on phenomena of rock pressure, measures are developed to protect buildings,
structures, natural objects, and mine workings against harmful influence from
mine development, and records are kept of the movement of industrial
reserves, losses, and depletion of the mineral. When mining enterprises are shut
down permanently or temporarily, the mine surveying service determines to
what extent the mineral has been extracted and updates the mine
documentation diagrams to the time of shutdown.
A history of mine surveying would be composed largely of a record of the
evolution of mine surveying instruments. Such a record has been recently
compiled by D. D. Scott and others and published in the Transactions of the
American Institute of Mining Engineers, Volumes XXVIIPXXXI. A few of the more
important points given in this record follow.

"Mine surveying, in some form or other, has been practiced from the earliest
times; but it has never kept pace with the other branches of surveying, or even
with the art of mining itself, and cannot be recognized as an exact science until
shortly after the beginning of this century."

1556 A. D. Agricola, in his De Re Metallica describes the practice of mine-

surveying. The instruments used were very crude, the principal one being the
stationary compass.

1571. Diggs describes the "theodolites," also applies the principle of the

1633. Rossler invented the method of suspending from a cord a compass and

1681. Houghton describes the use of strings, plumbs and compass.

1686. Geometria Subterrania, of Nicholas Voigtel (Eisleben, Saxony, 1686)

exhibits slight development in methods and instruments for mine surveying.

1710. Strum proposed the astrolabium for the miner.

1775. Kastner designed the quadrant clinometer.

1785. Beyer describes the common hanging compass. Tripod came into use.

1798. Breithaupt introduced mine theodolites.

1820. First American transit manufactured.

1843. Bourne first used high class theodolite in tunnel work.

1850. First American mine transit. Top telescope first used.

1858. Shifting tripod head successfully used.

1873. Coxe describes plummet lamp used in anthracite coal mine.

1874. Coxe describes five-hundred-foot steel tape used in coal mine surveying.

The term Marksheideriia became established in the 1940’s; earlier terms were
“subterranean geometry” and “mine surveying” (A. Martov, 1777), “mining
topography” and “mine topography” (G. A. Time, 1884 and 1890), “mine
surveying art” and “mine geodesy” (L. A. Saks, 1886; V. I. Bauman, 1900 and
1905), and “mining geometry” (P. M. Leontovskii, 1906). In the late 19th and
early 20th centuries the prominent Russian scientists V. I. Bauman, P. M.
Leontovskii, P. K. Sobolevskii, I. M. Bakhurin, N. G. Kell’, and D. N. Ogloblin
developed the theory and practice of mining geodesy.

Mine surveying is continuing to develop in the USSR: the methods of application

of geometry to deposits are being worked out and the scientific discipline of
“geometry of the earth’s interior” is taking shape (P. K. Sobolevskii, P. A. Ryzhov,
and I. N. Ushakov), and the methodology for studying rock stress and calculating
elements of rock displacement is being created (I. M. Bakhurin, S. G. Avershin,
M. V. Korotkov). This work has made possible the establishment of rules for
protecting structures and natural objects against harmful influence from
underground workings in the USSR and to begin forming the discipline of “rock
displacement” within the field of mine surveying.

In the 20th century the continuing development of the science of mine surveying
has been reflected abroad in the works of O. Nimtschik (Federal Republic of
Germany), K. Neubert (German Democratic Republic), F. Ćechura
(Czechoslovakia), A. Tarczy-Hornoch (Hungary), and Z. Kowalczyk (Poland). In
the USSR, integrated research in mine surveying is carried out at the Institute of
Mine Surveying
Instruments used in mine surveying during spatial geometric measurements in
underground shafts and quarries, as well as on the surface of the earth. They are
divided into several groups according to purpose.

Direction-finding instruments include theodolite-tachymeters, mining

theodolites and attachments for them (brackets, signals, and plumbs),
tachymeters with stereoscopic range finders, and angle gauges. Instruments for
measuring elevations and excesses include mining levels with self-adjusting
axes, barometers, barographs, and profilographs for rail lines. Instruments for
linear measurements include steel and tape reels, tapes (including those up to
1,000 m long to determine the depth of shafts), and filament, coincidence, auto
reduction, stereoscopic, wire, and optical range finders. Instruments for
determining azimuth and direction include magnetic compasses, orientation
compasses, declination compasses, mining compasses, and explosion-proof
gyroscopic compasses. Optical projectors and direction indicators include light
indicators, conventional indicators, projectors, and plumbs with laser light
sources. Special-purpose instruments are used for monitoring and profiling thin
veins in mines, automatic clearance gauges, automatic recording columns,
sensors for measuring mine pressure and shifting of rock, instruments and
attachments to observe and record shifts in the earth’s surface as a result of
underground work, and devices for geometric orientation (wires and weights).
Photogrammetric instruments include phototheodolites, photogrammeters,
and stereo comparators. Instruments for surveying underground cavities are
internal tachymeters, the sectograph, ultrasonic instruments such as the Luch
station, and sonar. Dipping compasses are used for surveying boreholes. Among
the instruments used for office work are planimeters, pantographs,
photocopying devices, drawing tools, calculators, and Drobyshev rules.
Precision geodetic instruments (universal theodolites, Invar wire, plane tables,
levels, and instruments for aerial photographic surveying and processing) are
extensively used for geodetic surveying on the surface.
1. In all surveys the importance and the accuracy of conducting the work
should be directly proportional. The great value of our mineral deposits
and their limited extent warrant and demand the greatest care in
establishing boundaries and in conducting underground surveys. An
example of this fact is often seen in errors in surveying lode claims. A foot
increased length on the line of a lode three feet wide and containing ore
worth twenty-five dollars a ton, (fifteen cubic feet per ton) represents for
each thousand feet in depth on the lode a value of five thousand dollars.
2. Pillars of sufficient size and property located must be left in the mine
either permanently or temporarily in order to protect important passages,
to prevent the inrush of water and to protect adjoining property or
buildings on the surface.
3. Royalties are often based on the underground surveys. Stopes and
working places must be accurately measured to determine the volume of
the excavation.
4. Before any permanent openings are made, complete surveys should be
made in order to determine the most advantageous site. The best location
for a shaft, slope or tunnel, and the best methods of exploitation,
drainage, underground transportation, hoisting, ventilation, etc., depend
on the knowledge of the deposit given by careful surveys.
5. In order to avoid breaking into old workings, where there may be
quantities of gas or water, good surveys and maps are necessary. Many
states require the filing of maps of mines that are about to be abandoned.
When driving openings towards such workings, the proximity to
dangerous ground can be determined by careful survey.
6. Geological features and irregularities discovered by drill holes or
openings, when properly recorded and mapped, may be anticipated.
7. Buildings, tracks, reservoirs, streams, etc., may be properly protected if
the openings are properly mapped.
8. Many mine surveying problems occur that demand great exactness; for
instance, to determine a point on the surface directly above a given point
underground, in order that a bore hole or shaft may be sunk to connect
the former with the latter.
9. A system of bore holes or drifts, an examination of samples from the body
blocked out and a complete survey will permit of the estimation of the
value of a mine or mineral deposit.
10. Much litigation may be avoided if the mine is properly surveyed.

From these few statements the importance of mine surveying is obvious. An

inaccurate survey is valueless, in fact a poor survey is often worse than none, in
that openings may be driven in the wrong direction to make connections, old
workings may be tapped, etc. One of the essential things for a mine surveyor to
appreciate is the accuracy demanded of him.
1. The surveyor is frequently called upon to carry a line through low, narrow
places where it is difficult to set up the transit, take sights and measure
distances. Coal seams twenty-eight inches thick are frequently mined;
veins even narrower are mined and often stations must be established
and surveys made in openings not more than twenty-eight inches high.
2. Artificial light is necessary in order to illuminate the point of sight and the
cross hairs. Such light is generally very poor, and this fact greatly hampers
work with the instrument. When the safety lamp is necessary, the candle
power is reduced to less than unity.
3. A smoky atmosphere greatly reduces the possible length of sight and
often compels the surveying squad to postpone the survey. Sights of over
two thousand feet are possible in good air, but when the powder smoke
is dense thirty feet is a good sight.
4. In surveying highly, inclined openings it becomes necessary to use an
auxiliary telescope to read vertical angles, to measure inclined distances,
and to calculate horizontal distances and differences in elevation.
5. It is not always possible to make a closed survey, so that the advantage of
having a closed check is lost. This necessitates repeating angles and
remeasuring distances for all accurate work.
6. The actual underground conditions frequently necessitate the
establishing of stations in the roof instead of in the floor and setting up
the transit under a point instead of over a point.
7. The survey must be conducted so as not to interfere with mining
operations. This requires that the work be conducted rapidly and at the
same time accurately.

Methods of conducting underground surveys vary greatly; in England methods

are still in vogue which have long since been abandoned in America. The
methods in the United States depend largely on the value of the deposit and
the proximity of other workings.
Mining survey is a specialist area of surveying involving the measurement,
representation and management of data associated with mining operations
which could be the underground and open-cut mine workings. These
measurements enable new mine works to avoid older and possibly flooded
ones, allow connections to be made between different underground passages
and also to establish he boundaries of mining claims and territories.

Mine surveyors are responsible for preparing and updating the entire surface
and underground plans of a mine to account for new buildings and other
structures and to keep records of mining operations. They plan the direction and
extent of all underground workings and used advanced surveying techniques
and instruments to give these directions underground.

Mine surveyor’s work underground most mornings of the week giving direction
lines for the miners to follow or taking samples of the reef and during the
afternoons they do calculations in their offices.

The methods and the instruments used for open cast and underground mine
surveying are similar to those used for normal surveys the difference is only
where the working points are fixed on the underground mine, which is on the
ceiling of the rocks in the tunnels.