Gold prospecting. When ever we think about the gold prospector we envision the old bearded man with the mule loaded with supplies. A life of living in the mountains spending their days searching for small traces of gold that one day might become a discovery. Well in a lot of ways nothing has really changed except maybe the mule has been traded in for an ATV and the days of searching are now done in hours instead of days. Welcome to the new age of mineral prospecting! Cameras, drones, laptops and smart phones.
Prospecting use to be tough work. Well actually it still is. The prospector still has to put up with living out of the his pick up truck or wall tent for maybe weeks at a time. Eating out of tin cans and bathing in ice cold creeks. Most prospecting is done in areas out in the middle of nowhere and there is usually nothing out there but wild weather, lots of bugs and depending what part of the world your in, other creatures that bite or maybe even kill. So in a lot ways nothing really has changed.
However the way we actually search now has changed dramatically with the use of drones. Having the advantage of seeing from the air, modern day prospecting has taken on a huge change. Small personal drones can be purchased for a few thousand dollars and be equipt with top notch video cameras. A fully charged drone can fly out for up to 30 minutes and depending on what model of drone, can travel a few miles away all the while being watched on a small screen of your smart phone. Flying over ravines and embankments means no more unnessary hikes into dangerous spots. Flying over creeks or rock faces or even above trees looking downward give the prospector a birds eye view of whats below. Picking out rock outcrops and boulder placements is now possible without having to "stumble" on them.
Small cameras mounted on the drones take live video of what below. Camera can be remotely controlled by the operator as he watches in real time. All this recorded information can then be downloaded onto mapping software with GPS coordinates and laid out in a map for the prospector. That rock out crop you saw on the video? It's over there about 130 yard away. No more hunting through the bush trying to find something you saw in a helicoptor. Just plug all the drone data into your personal GPS and hike and take a look. Days of hiking and looking has been cut down to a tenth of the time. After all the most time spent prospecting is search for that illusive target.
For covering an area throughly, you can set up a grid pattern on software and the drone will fly in a grid pattern by itself and video the entire ground work below. This video can then be laid out into other mapping softwares to give the prospectors a full arial landscape. GPS meaures everything down the inch.
A lot of people will wonder about the cost of exploring this way. For the most part prospecting with drones is cheap namely because electronic is cheap. When time cost is factored in a drone can pay for itself in a matter of days. You can buy a fairly good perfroming drone for about around $2000. That would come with a good hi-def video camera. The most common drones are also known as quad-coptors having 4 rotors. Moving up the latter to more expensive drones ike the eBee brand you can expect to
several thousand dollars.
High tech prospecting is the way of the future however you will still need the hammer, the pick and the pans and wall tent so don't get rid of that mule just yet.