ATMM - Automated Transportation Mining Monitoring

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Due to the increasing demand of electrical power supply especially for the fast-growing economies in the new developing countries, coal mining is still one of the main energy sources.

Currently, the coal mining and trading companies rely on ground observations, long-term trend analysis and shipping logs from the port authorities to make an estimation about the coal movement but that is very complicated, imprecise, time consuming and expensive. On the other hand, the harbors are very varied in their business size, quality & quantity capacity, and the data accessibility.

SBI intends to enhance the transparency about the local and global coal flows. ATMM therefore will deliver also the logistic activities and coal volumetric changes in coal harbor areas based on established satellite-derived observations. The service will be provided for each individual harbor, based on time interval delivery and service duration period.

Users and their needs

The primary end-users and customers of the proposed services are the international coal mining companies who are interested to have quick and global analysis of the total coal production, stock and its logistic.

The customers are defined in four main categories:

  • Mining & logistic companies.
  • Power supply companies.
  • Database & legal and regulatory consulting companies.
  • Investment companies.

The needs of customers in each category vary according to their main business. Mining companies, for example, need to check the extracted amount of coal and compare it with exported volumes. Logistic companies are mainly interested in monitoring the work efficacy in each harbor e.g. which crane is active and the volumes of mobilized dry coal ending with the number of the official – nonofficial vessels in the port.

The benefit of ATMM services will be basically useful to the administration and logistic departments of the power supply, database, legal and investment companies of the USA, Australia, Asia and the EU.

The most challenging item can be the random and nonsystematic shapes of the coal stockpiles which will impact the final estimates of the absolute volume.

Service/ system concept

Figure 1: Service and product concept

Targeted services are:

  • Coal mining monitoring within an appropriate time interval. This service will be delivered in multiple formats on a weekly / monthly basis for each of the test sites selected.
  • Activity insights of the coal harbors (logistic and volumetric).
  • Monitoring coal transporting vessels.

 The activity overview, activity insights and coal stockpile changes will be delivered as the following products:

  • Number and the size of the vessels.
  • Active and not active loaders and cranes.
  • Volumetric changes over time.
  • Coal stockpile classification.

 The delivery model will be based on a flat rate or on a weekly basis and the output delivery will be via online portal, interface or documentations like tables according to the customers’ needs.

Space Added Value

Figure 2: The process flow for coal stockpiles, logistic and the delivery scenarios.


Automated daily access to the optical and radar products of Planet Lab and Copernicus enable the system to detect the geographic location of each stockpile and other logistic equipment’s. The total area and the volumetric analyses will be used to provide the total volumetric capacity map of the selected harbor. Weather data and the adjusted area of interest will be important to keep the best accuracy.

The used satellite data enable the coverage of many areas at the same time, which will be important to fulfill the intention of covering the global coal ports.

Current Status

The automated feature detection has been tested and positive results have been produced regarding logistic and vessels monitoring. The absolute volume and stockpiles capacity classification are showing promising results. The final products will be validated by potential customer in the envisaged follow-on demonstration project.

Status Date

Updated: 11 February 2020 - Created: 11 February 2020