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Open AccessArticle

New Perspectives for UAV-Based Modelling the Roman Gold Mining Infrastructure in NW Spain

Department of Earth Sciences and Physics of the Condensed Matter, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cantabria, Avenida de los Castros s/n, 39007 Santander, Spain
Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Salamanca, Plaza de la Merced s/n, 38007 Salamanca, Spain
Geology and Geography Department, Tomsk State University, Lenin Street, 36, Tomsk 634050, Russia
Department of Geological Engineering and Mining, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Biochemistry, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Avenida Carlos III s/n, 45071 Toledo, Spain
Department of Geodynamics, Stratigraphy and Paleontology, Faculty of Geological Science, Complutense University of Madrid, C/José Antonio Novais, 12, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2018, 8(11), 518;
Received: 5 September 2018 / Revised: 30 October 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Geology and Environmental Modelling)
This contribution discusses the potential of UAV-assisted (unmanned aerial vehicles) photogrammetry for the study and preservation of mining heritage sites using the example of Roman gold mining infrastructure in northwestern Spain. The study area represents the largest gold area in Roman times and comprises 7 mining elements of interest that characterize the most representative examples of such ancient works. UAV technology provides a non-invasive procedure valuable for the acquisition of digital information in remote, difficult to access areas or under the risk of destruction. The proposed approach is a cost-effective, robust and rapid method for image processing in remote areas were no traditional surveying technologies are available. It is based on a combination of data provided by aerial orthoimage and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to improve the accuracy of UAV derived data. The results provide high-resolution orthomosaic, DEMs and 3D textured models that aim for the documentation of ancient mining scenarios, providing high-resolution digital information that improves the identification, description and interpretation of mining elements such as the hydraulic infrastructure, the presence of open-cast mines which exemplifies the different exploitation methods, and settlements. However, beyond the scientific and technical information provided by the data, the 3D documentation of ancient mining scenarios is a powerful tool for an effective and wider public diffusion ensuring the visualization, preservation and awareness over the importance and conservation of world mining heritage sites.
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Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); Roman gold mining; photogrammetry; mining; geoheritage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); Roman gold mining; photogrammetry; mining; geoheritage
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Fernández-Lozano, J.; González-Díez, A.; Gutiérrez-Alonso, G.; Carrasco, R.M.; Pedraza, J.; García-Talegón, J.; Alonso-Gavilán, G.; Remondo, J.; Bonachea, J.; Morellón, M. New Perspectives for UAV-Based Modelling the Roman Gold Mining Infrastructure in NW Spain. Minerals 2018, 8, 518.

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