In a previous article (3. Site Visit – What Is the Purpose?) I briefly discussed the requirements for a site inspection to be completed by one or more Qualified Persons (“QP”) in a 43-101 compliant study.    Unfortunately the entire study team does not participate in the site visit; however the next best thing may be a viewing with Google Earth.  Here are the possibilities with Google Earth:
  • It can be used to fly-around the project area examining the 3D topography across the site.
  • It can be used to view regional features, regional facilities, land access routes, and existing infrastructure.
  • It  has the capability to measure distances, either in a straight line or along a zigzag path.
  • It has the ability to view historical aerial photos (if they exist) to show how the project area might have changed over time.
  • It can import GPS tracks and waypoints.  If a member of the study team has visited the site with a GPS, they can describe their route and their observations.
As an aside, also check the aerial photos and Bird’s Eye views on the Bing Maps website (  Sometimes those images can be different than what you will find in Google Maps or Google Earth.
My bottom line recommendation is to have a Google Earth session with your engineering team to view the project site and the regional infrastructure. A viewing session ensures that everyone sees and hears the same things about the site. It’s like taking a helicopter tour of the site with your entire team at once!  If people are working in different offices, this can be done via screen sharing in Skype, Glance, GoToMeeting, or any of the other online conferencing methods.    A “helicopter tour” like this would be a good agenda item at the first study kickoff meeting and is useful when done as a group with a “tour guide”.  This is better than people viewing the mine site by themselves on their own time.

One thought on “10. Google Earth – Make Good Use of It

  1. hardrockminer

    I have yellow pins all over my Google Earth to mark locations of projects. I find it useful to orient a project with respect to infrastructure and to get approximate distances to highways, towns and ports.

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