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Development of infield and online data collection systems

Philippa Burmeister | Roanne Sutcliff (Co-Author)
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
First presented: 
SAIMM | New Technology 2019


Date: Wednesday | 05 June

Time: 14:20 PM | 14:40 PM


How people communicate has changed substantially in the last 10 years. Mining equally needs to change how they communicate with stakeholders and collect data. Particularly in the current climate where social license to operate form a critical part of mine operations.

SRK has developed several infield data collection applications to make the collection of data more efficient and accurate. I will use two case studies, both developed using ESRI software to demonstrate how the use of technology made data collection quicker, simpler and reduced the risk of transcription errors.

The first includes the development on an online Interested and Affected Party (I&AP) registration system. Traditionally I&AP’s would see an advertisement or notice and then call the consultant to register. This system allows I&AP’s to register themselves online (using computers, tablets or cellphones), reducing the potential for errors. The system also requires that I&AP include all required information in order to submit and allows the consultant to track the location of registrations. Providing valuable information to inform the rest of the EIA process.  This system also allows the online registration to be translated into any language or to be available in multiple languages again limiting human resource requirements and making communication easier.

The second involves the collection of domestic fuel burning information in a rural area. Previously, experienced field workers would have been required to collect data. However, through careful crafting of the online questionnaire and the creation of response requirements and notes, SRK was able to use local community members instead. This built good will with the community, reduced project costs so that resources could focus on training and capacity building within the community. It was surprising how many of the community had smartphones which was the only requirement to enable a community member to become a data collector. Community members could therefore collect the information and upload it for analysis in real time – reducing the time between when it was captured to when it was available for reporting and reducing travel costs and other disbursements. It also made it possible to verify data and identify inconsistencies while still in the field.

The presentation will provide an overview of the case studies, lessons learned, and a live demonstration of an online data collection system set up specifically for the conference. Time will also be provided during the presentation and the rest of the conference to workshop challenges and options with attendees to address issues they may have encountered in data collection and stakeholder communication.


Philippa Burmeister

Philippa Burmeister | Principal Environmental Scientist | SRK Consulting | Durban | South Africa.

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