Visualisation of 3D/4D models in geosciences

Visual3D project answers the need for radical innovation in mineral exploration to ensure a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials. The project provides expertise in the development of 3D visualisation tools for geoscientific data to enhance our three-dimensional geological understanding in exploration, research and education.

High-tech visualisation tools for geoscientists

The European Commission has identified virtual and augmented reality as a key technology for the digitalisation of society and the economy to meet various global challenges. The digital and circular transformation is powered by a large variety of metals, for some of which new and innovative exploration methodologies need to be developed. This is where the Visual3D project plays an important role. High-tech visualisation tools will help geoscientists locate ore deposits in the subsurface with greater efficiency and lower lead times and costs.

To improve success rates in exploration, and thereby to secure the future supply of both main commodities and critical raw materials, is to enhance our understanding of the Earth’s crust—and in particular to optimise our understanding about the 3D geometries in the subsurface. By integrating industry, academia and research institutes with expertise and excellence in exploration and 3D modelling, Visual3D project increases the understanding of geological bodies in 3D and 4D through improved visualisation techniques. By sharing expertise and infrastructure through conferences and workshops, Visual3D fosters the development of innovative ideas for products, solutions and projects, and thereby revolutionises the way exploration is conducted.

Visual3D has enabled us to together come up with ideas for solutions, tools and products which will prove to be game-changers in how we visualise geology in geoscientific exploration, research and education.

Dr Tobias C. Kampmann, Associate Senior Lecturer, Luleå University of Technology

With 14 partners representing various types of stakeholders in the European sector of geosciences, exploration and mining, Visual3D integrates the entire Knowledge Triangle. The project brings together universities, mining and exploration companies, as well as geological survey organisations and consulting companies. Thereby, Visual3D can guarantee a mutual support structure and knowledge sharing involving cutting-edge exploration methodology, technology, research and education, as well as visualisation software and hardware development, business opportunities and customers. Broad coverage of the Knowledge Triangle within the project consortium aided the project in a detailed analysis of the needs of the exploration industry. It boosted the development projects aimed at technological innovation and professional skill development.

Visual3D has played an important role for Boliden Exploration in expanding our professional network of contacts. The project has created valuable opportunities for knowledge transfer and benchmarking of development ideas, not only in the field of visualisation but also in the areas of 3D modelling and data integration.

Dr Tobias Hermansson, Manager Expert Group Exploration, Boliden Mineral AB

Successful results of the project and the continuation of the collaboration

On 1-2 October 2019 in Uppsala, Sweden, the project held the final network-organised event. The conference attracted speakers and stakeholders from across the globe and established the state-of-the-art in the visualisation of 3D/4D models in geosciences, exploration and mining. The conference was also an opportunity to present the results of the Visual3D network, as well as its continuation with follow-up projects within the EIT RawaMaterials Innovation Community, including commercialisation through a newly founded start-up company.

The Visual3D conference puts all who work in the front line of 3D visualisation related to geology in the same location, at the same time, and lets us share thoughts, ideas and inspire each other.

Dr Mikael Bergkvist, Research & Development Manager, Orexplore AB

The project resulted in the founding of an EIT RawMaterials supported start-up company Terranigma Solutions GmbH by Visual3D network partners in Germany. The start-up team will develop and commercialise innovative ideas stemming from Visual3D. One of these ideas, developing field AR in mineral exploration and mining, will be developed in an EIT RawMaterials upscaling project FARMIN, which commenced in January 2020, involving several Visual3D partners.

Another follow-up project of the Visual3D network will establish Mixed reality Handbooks for Mining Education (MireBooks). In this way, the Visual3D network will result in legacy products and services reaching far beyond the funding period of the network itself, covering both business and educational innovation.

The Visual3D network of infrastructure will remain as an active forum for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, even following the funding period.

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