Boral is an international construction materials company headquartered in Sydney Australia. They have over 12,000 employees across 550 operating sites and 150 distribution and administration sites in 13 countries.
Their sites consist of stockpiles of construction materials such as asphalt, roadbase, sand and concrete, which they must monitor and track volumes of for reporting purposes. As part of their internal and external audit requirements, Boral must assess stockpile volumes at each of its quarries nationally, to audit the amount of stock on the ground.
This process was historically done using manned aircraft, however, restrictions in 2020 due to Covid-19 required them to find more innovative, flexible, and cost effective solutions. Boral looked at the potential of drone technology as a way to reduce their stockpile reporting costs and improve data accuracy, and came to Birdi for a solution.
With Birdi, Boral utilises drones and aerial intelligence to solve their volumetric reporting needs across 57 quarries around Australia.
Specifically, Birdi’s solution helps Boral in the following ways:
While some Boral sites have their own drone equipment and fly drones themselves, the majority utilise Birdi’s drone pilot network of qualified drone pilots for data capture. Birdi matched drone pilots with the relevant experience, qualifications and equipment who were local to each Boral site, to ensure consistent capture quality while reducing costs.
Birdi’s pilot network has flown over 400 missions for Boral, with a whopping total of approximately 280,000 drone images captured to date.
Once the drone data has been captured, it’s uploaded into Boral’s workspace on Birdi for cloud-based data processing. The Birdi processing solution is capable of ingesting standard and RTK imagery as well as site control information. We generate a range of output types from orthophotos and digital elevation models to point clouds and more. Birdi has processed over 1,000 orthophotos for Boral.
Boral’s site stakeholders are then able to access each mission within the Birdi platform and derive the insights they require. Orthophotos and elevation models are layered on the map, with each drone image visible at the precise location it was captured for contextual insights. Quarry Managers use the Birdi platform’s annotation tools to identify and label stockpiles of interest, so they can then request volumetric reporting. With the same data set, environmental teams use the up-to-date, high definition orthophotos to assess vegetation and site remediation requirements.
Once Quarry Managers have identified the relevant stockpiles and submitted their volumetric report request, Birdi and their insights partner work together to produce an impartial volumetric report of each Boral site. These reports are used as part of Boral’s site audit process, providing both site operations teams and head office planning and finance teams with accurate stockpile volume data.
To date, Birdi has provided Boral over 500 volumetric reports.
Boral increases the benefit and cost effectiveness of each drone flyover by utilising the processed data for a myriad of other site-related uses. A range of internal and external Boral stakeholders are able to undertake site planning, overburden monitoring, drill and blast assessments and royalty reporting all from a single, high quality data set stored on the Birdi platform.
We engaged Birdi to undertake drone capture and volumetric reporting for my site. I found the service to be professional, fast and collaborative. The volumetric report was issued quickly and tailored to the specific stockpiles we required. By working with BIRDI I have access to cost-effective, on-demand drone services and volumetric reporting.
Geoff Stephens, Boral Quarry Manager
With Birdi, Boral has been able to improve the speed and accuracy of their stockpile reporting, as well as ensure consistent, accurate drone data capture at a cadence that suits their reporting needs. What’s more, Birdi has been able to provide them with flexibility at a site level, with some sites requiring more frequent drone data capture and reporting than others. Finally, Birdi’s distributed network of drone pilots around Australia has enabled Boral to overcome any geographical constraints they might have otherwise encountered with other drone capture partners.