In the summer of 2001 I worked at a copper/gold property in northern British Columbia, Canada. I was assigned a task to figure out some way of determining what blasting methods were working the best for highwall control; i.e. what pattern spacing, load factor, blast layout etc. resulted in the least damage to the highwall.

There was a lot of data to sift through, and on the surface it looked like a pretty standard databasing task, where one would put all of the possible variables into a table and associate that with a score that represented the quality of the highwall that was left behind.

An epiphany struck though, which resulted in me creating the image maps shown below. This was created with a lot of manual effort; the photo was taken from a known location, and known landmarks (most specifically, the numbered power poles along the crest of the highwall) were located both on the photograph and on bench-by-bench plans showing the location of all blasts on each bench. On the bench maps, lines were drawn from the location the photo was taken to each of the landmarks, then one could determine how far between specific sets of landmarks the boundary for each blast was on the highwall.

Once this was done, a program was used to create an image map on top of the photo, where one could click on any portion of the highwall, and be taken to a dynamic webpage filled in with all of the particulars regarding that specific blast. Unfortunately, my example here lacks that database integration, but the concept is the important bit.

Additional features were contemplated, for instance showing a transparent overlay highlighting which portions of the highwall used specific load factors, or specific hole diameters/spacings. This would allow the user to see if there was a correlation between the highwall quality and the value of each variable at a glance. Unfortunately, this wasn't developed.