Guest Blogger, John Lyons-Baral, Applications Engineer
Last summer, we began discussing a renewed and expanded partnership with the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). Fred Banfield is the founder of our mine planning suite, MineSight, and an alumnus of CSM. He was a major philanthropic contributor to CSM and other mining schools through MineSight, now part of Hexagon Mining.
CSM’s Priscilla Nelson, Department Head of Mining, and James Abbott, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, contacted us to renew our connection and pursue an even deeper relationship. Our President, Hélio Samora, asked me to coordinate an emerging educational program for Hexagon Mining.
We researched Hexagon Mining’s and Hexagon AB’s existing and legacy university relationships. We contacted our branch offices and discovered many models of university relationships among our legacy brands, MineSight, SAFEmine, and Leica Geosystems Mining, as well as Intergraph and Hexagon Geospatial.
Drawing on Hélio’s previous experience with university programs through his former company PTC, we devised a pilot program for trial at CSM. Last October, Hélio and I spent two days at CSM, a beautiful and intimate campus in Golden, Colorado. Our visit featured tours, lively meetings and a tour of the Edgar Experimental Underground Mine.
We presented Hexagon Mining to faculty while they presented their research and teaching with us. We discussed with the university President, Paul Johnson, Foundation President, Brian Winkelbauer, and college deans and department heads, Hexagon Mining’s vision for universities.
Our discussions included scholarships, software and hardware donations, research collaboration, design and hackathon competitions, and a master collaboration agreement. We discussed a student version of MineSight, limited to mining fundamentals and maintained on student computers. Fall in Colorado presented plenty of photo opportunities, seized upon by Hélio who wanted to share the vivid reds, oranges and yellows of the changing leaves with his wife back in Tucson.
Over the winter, we visited CSM again, and Paul Johnson and Brian Winkelbauer visited us in Tucson. With Karen Paul, Hexagon Corporate Counsel, we began work on an official master collaboration agreement with the university.
This agreement establishes a framework for us to easily approach each other and develop projects under the contract. Such projects include using the Edgar Mine for testing Hexagon Mining technology and sharing our underground technology with students and faculty; a new scholarship agreement for students expanded to include those outside of mining; potential research collaboration with faculty; and laser scanning of the Edgar Mine.
Senior MineSight Specialist, Alyson Cartwright, met with CSM faculty to evaluate potential improvements to MineSight. She discovered that we have already improved many previously requested areas of software usability with more improvements coming soon.
Director of Product Development, Erik Johnson met faculty in many departments from mining to computer science, looking for any confluences of CSM research and our technological roadmap. Laser scanning provided a digital model of the Edgar Mine for CSM’s faculty and students to use in MineSight and for research. The Edgar Mine was scoped for implementation of our UG Fleet Management System.
James Abbott, Karen Paul, and I pushed the master partnership agreement through the proper channels to achieve an officially signed contract. It is official – Hexagon Mining and Colorado School of Mines are now partners!
Our first project was the laser scanning of the Edgar Mine with the Leica P40 laser scanner. Greg Dolphin, Leica HDS Scanning Consultant, conducted the scanning with the help of Matt Schreiner, Edgar Mine Manager, and myself. The students are now using this data in their MineSight training. This annual course is a legacy of Fred Banfield’s generous support of the school that got him started more than half a century ago.