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Correction published on 5 July 2016, see Sensors 2016, 16(7), 1028.

Open AccessArticle

Towards the Development of a Low Cost Airborne Sensing System to Monitor Dust Particles after Blasting at Open-Pit Mine Sites

Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation, Sustainable Mineral Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia
Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane 4000, Australia
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia 4072, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M. N. Passaro
Sensors 2015, 15(8), 19667-19687;
Received: 26 May 2015 / Revised: 31 July 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 12 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
PDF [11403 KB, uploaded 7 July 2016]


Blasting is an integral part of large-scale open cut mining that often occurs in close proximity to population centers and often results in the emission of particulate material and gases potentially hazardous to health. Current air quality monitoring methods rely on limited numbers of fixed sampling locations to validate a complex fluid environment and collect sufficient data to confirm model effectiveness. This paper describes the development of a methodology to address the need of a more precise approach that is capable of characterizing blasting plumes in near-real time. The integration of the system required the modification and integration of an opto-electrical dust sensor, SHARP GP2Y10, into a small fixed-wing and multi-rotor copter, resulting in the collection of data streamed during flight. The paper also describes the calibration of the optical sensor with an industry grade dust-monitoring device, Dusttrak 8520, demonstrating a high correlation between them, with correlation coefficients (R2) greater than 0.9. The laboratory and field tests demonstrate the feasibility of coupling the sensor with the UAVs. However, further work must be done in the areas of sensor selection and calibration as well as flight planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: PM10; monitoring; blasting; fixed-wing UAV; quadcopter; optical sensor PM10; monitoring; blasting; fixed-wing UAV; quadcopter; optical sensor

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Alvarado, M.; Gonzalez, F.; Fletcher, A.; Doshi, A. Towards the Development of a Low Cost Airborne Sensing System to Monitor Dust Particles after Blasting at Open-Pit Mine Sites. Sensors 2015, 15, 19667-19687.

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