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Inertial Navigation System (INS) surveying

This is one of the most specialized services we offer: surveying where satellite reception is blocked or compromised by obstructions – including in underground mines.

Inertial navigation uses gyroscopes and accelerometers to provide an estimate of position, velocity, attitude, and attitude rates of the vehicle on which the INS is carried. An inertial navigation system (INS) consists of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) containing the sensors – gyroscopes and accelerometers – mounted rigidly to a common base, and the computer navigation system. INS is a very useful tool for survey-quality positioning in areas that are unsuited to optical surveying or lack good GNSS reception. The INS functions independently of external infrastructure, like satellites.

Seisland was the first survey company in Canada to acquire an all-terrain land navigation system, housed in an ergonomic backpack: the Position and Orientation System for Land Survey (POS LS). Manufactured by Applanix Corporation (now a Trimble company), the POS LS is designed for land survey applications by complementary integration of an INS and an RTK GNSS receiver. It is optimized for pedestrian use and is also used by Seisland on an ATV or UTV. By following the manufacturer’s operating procedures, we meet the accuracy required by our clients.

Seisland has proven that INS can be cost-effective in:

  • Extensive treed areas with no existing LiDAR data (we use LiDAR where data is available). INS is much less costly than commissioning a new LiDAR survey. In adverse environments, it is much faster than waiting to acquire an intermittent GNSS signal. In some instances, pre-flagging, chaining, and surveying can be performed in one pass, which can provide field-labour savings;
  • Programs with LiDAR coverage and dense canopy where using INS substantially increases survey production versus using GNSS;
  • Areas with significant signal reflectivity, such as tight valleys or canyons, where GNSS signals are seriously compromised; and
  • Areas completely isolated from GNSS signals, such as tunnels and underground mines. In underground mines, Seisland has performed skip (ore elevator) motion surveys to help identify the vibration and rotation in mine shaft elevators, as well as a 44 kilometre traverse survey in a potash mine in Saskatchewan to ensure that a newly cut mine shaft would intersect accurately with an existing tunnel.