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The importance of using a good quality metal detector suitable for prospecting has been widely explored in great detail. The introduction of the GPX 6000 highlights the gains in technology and thank goodness, ergonomics. Weight and Balance, at last. Matched by performance and cutting edge technology..  The one fact remains that at the end of the day the key is to get the coil over the gold. Some truly magnificent gold that has been found, could have been detected by any half decent prospecting machine. Still we should invest in quality and the new Minelab sounds superb. We need to utilize every tool at our disposal.

Often after extensive research, Google Earth images, maps, books and word of mouth can all lead us to a certain goldfields. When we arrive there is a lot of suitable ground to explore. Perhaps too much ground and not enough time to give it the attention it deserves.. In an effort to narrow the search I have started to use a drone when exploring a new area. It allows me to gain perspective, to more clearly focus on areas and features of interest. When the terrain allows it, this will same me a lot of time and increase my odds of putting a coil over a target. Viewed from the ground vegetation can mask features which kind of pop up when viewed from the air, the drone allows me to focus on a smaller area of interest.

 

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Karelian: Thanks for sharing.  You have brought up a good point that this tool can save a person a lot of time and wasted effort in a new area.  Do you care to share any details about the brand of drone you use and why you chose it over other brands or models?  How long have you used this technique?

I am curious if anyone has tried using a drone in the Western US, in such areas as the Sierra Nevada, Arizona desert, or wooded areas of the Cascade Mountains, Northern Idaho or Montana?  If so, I am very curious of their results and experiences.  

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30 minutes ago, Cascade Steven said:

Karelian: Thanks for sharing.  You have brought up a good point that this tool can save a person a lot of time and wasted effort in a new area.  Do you care to share any details about the brand of drone you use and why you chose it over other brands or models?  How long have you used this technique?

I am curious if anyone has tried using a drone in the Western US, in such areas as the Sierra Nevada, Arizona desert, or wooded areas of the Cascade Mountains, Northern Idaho or Montana?  If so, I am very curious of their results and experiences.  

A friend of mine who is a bat biologist uses a drone to look for open adits to find potential bat habitat, and I just recently used mine to see the extent of an old drywashed area.  They provide very good high resolution images of hard to access areas,  and definitely can be a benefit when surveying a large area more quickly, but they won’t replace boots on the ground.

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Nice video  Karelian,

Have you tried using your drone and mapping software to create any high resolution maps yet?  There are drone mapping programs out there both pay to use, and free to use, that can create high res imagery that can be overlaid in google earth etc.  You can also create and overlay DSM's, Direct Surface Models, and DTM's, (Direct Terrain Models).  Its just another way to visualize the ground, and can make spotting depressions and surface disturbances easier.  Its a good solution for a closer overall look at a larger area, and then if it warrants furthur investigation, you could send the drone to the areas of interest to take video.  All without leaving the truck.

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I'm using a DJI Mavic Air, mated to an ipad with the controller. I carry four spare batteries and spares etc Everything fits into a smallish Pelican style carry case to keep dirt and dust away. Because I always fly within visual range as per rules.. I sometimes use a spotter with binoculars, safe range out to 1 km, often much less. I use mining records and maps to find locations of interest. Google earth narrows it down a bit also. Finally once I have arrived on the goldfield the drone allows me to fine focus my attention on specific locations. I print out a hard copy mini map of areas I intend to search, then use a pen to mark areas of interest as I search that area by drone and on foot. A printed map works for me, digital alternatives on the ipad are used in camp to plan the days search. Research and planning.. analog and digital.

Quickly learned that large metal objects like cars and hot mineralized ground play havoc with the drones electronic compass. Calibrate well away from the car and off the ground, then launch the drone from a tree stump if available.. The birds eye view helps me find the best parking spot and camp site. Quickly identifies the boundaries between private property and public land. Just a very useful tool in new areas.

All the best.

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Karelian, learn to hand launch and land.  Makes life way easier.

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I've got all my fingers, like to keep it that way... a healthy respect for those high rpm propellers. The Mavic is so stable that hand launches and retrievals are almost routine with some operators, I'm not there yet..

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31 minutes ago, karelian said:

I've got all my fingers, like to keep it that way... a healthy respect for those high rpm propellers. The Mavic is so stable that hand launches and retrievals are almost routine with some operators, I'm not there yet..

Quick one-handed grab, tip it to the side and it will automatically shut down the rotors instead of trying to pull away.

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9 hours ago, Cascade Steven said:

I am curious if anyone has tried using a drone in the Western US, in such areas as the Sierra Nevada, Arizona desert, or wooded areas of the Cascade Mountains, Northern Idaho or Montana?  If so, I am very curious of their results and experiences.  

I have a Mavic 2 Zoom that I use in the Rockies and Arizona. It's been a real time saver scouting prospect, mines, and outcrop up in the mountains. I can see which have features that interest me, it's high enough resolution to tell the difference between ore piles and waste piles. Resolution is good enough that I can pretty easily identify outcrops. The zoom is actually surprisingly good too. The height limitation sucks around the high mountains, but I find a high spot to launch and combined with the zoom I've been able to see whatever I've sought.

It hasn't been as useful to me in the desert flats. But I did use it to track thieves down, and you can see 2-tracks left by trespassers offroading around fences and see where they came from, or easily monitor thug compounds from the air, stuff like that. 

I've flown it almost 5 miles each way, so it's possible to cover quite a lot of land and distance as long as you have a line of sight between the control and drone (another reason I find a high spot to launch). 

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