The AMINE manager module is designed with three important concepts in mind. The first concept is to organize and manage drawing files in an efficient and manageable manner. The second is to provide full control or to restrict the access of drawing information to different group of design people at the mine depending on their respective function. This is to prevent accidental modification of information by people with inappropriate knowledge of the type of information being modified. Finally, the third concept is to lock drawing files among a group of people having equal information access privileges, depending on who is the first one to open the drawing to prevent accidental overwriting of information.

AutoCAD offers a useful way of managing different types of information in a drawing through the LAYER concept. An AutoCAD layer has a name and properties such as the colour, the line type and the line weight in addition to the ability to make the layer Current, Locked, ON, OFF or Frozen. AMINE further pushes the LAYER concept in making each AutoCAD layer, a separate drawing file. Each layer is named according to a systematic convention and saved as a separate drawing file in a designated directory on the network using the AMINE Manager. Using the AMINE Manager, each separate layer can later be re-inserted in an empty or existing drawing. After starting AutoCAD and starting the AMINE Manager, the user will be prompted to login to the Manager with a login name and password. The login name determines what type of information a particular user can modify. After choosing the layer(s) to be inserted in the drawing, the Manager does the following two verifications. First, it verifies if the current user has writing access to the layer(s) being inserted; if not, the layer(s) is inserted for read-only. In the case that the current user has the appropriate privilege to modify the layer(s), the Manager then checks if another user, also with writing access privilege, has already modified the layer(s) on a different computer. If so, the Manager inserts the layer(s) for read-only to prevent the users from overwriting each other’s information.

The AMINE Layer Concept

The AMINE drawing Manager enforces each AMINE (AutoCAD) layer to have a specific naming convention according to the type information contained in the layer. Consider the following AMINE layer name: SRV1000_1_0_ACOP

  • SRV represents Survey information
  • 1000 represents Level 1000 of the mine
  • _1 represent Sublevel 1
  • _0 represent Cut 0
  • _ACOP represents Actual Openings (the actual surveyed 3D drift)

The naming convention is customized to the preferences of the mine. It is encouraged to have a consistent and meaningful layer name convention to make the layer easily recognizable. More importantly, the users must put the correct type of information on the appropriate layer so that each layer only contains a single type of information. In other words, in the layer SRV1000_1_0_ACOP, the only type of information expected to be present is the surveyed 3D drift for the 1000-1-0 level and nothing else. It should not contain information such as Geological or Planning information. Furthermore, it is best to break down the mine information into as many categories as possible. As an example, a typical drawing structure will have the following main categories of drawings: Geology, Planning, Surveyed Drifts, Stope Blocks, Ground Control, Blast Rings, Backfill, Ventilation and Laser Surveys. In addition, each category can be further broken down into sub-categories. For instance, the main Geology category can have sub-categories such as Geological Mapping, Geology Drill Holes and Geology Models. There is no limit to the number of categories or sub-categories. However, one must maintain a balance between the size of the drawing structure and the level of detailed information needed for clarity.

Each layer is a separated AutoCAD drawing file stored at a specific location on the network. The user can start a new AutoCAD session, login to the Manager and use it to assemble a drawing with the information needed. Each layer is inserted in the drawing and according to the current user’s privileges and whether the layer has already been opened by someone else or not, the AMINE Manager will manage the locking mechanism accordingly.

The Manager User's Interface

The figure below shows the main graphical user's interface of the AMINE file Manager. This interface constitutes the heart of the AMINE filing system for saving and retrieving LAYERS in a systematic manner. This interface allows users at the mine to assemble very quickly a drawing by selecting only the required layers without overloading the drawing with unnecessary information. Since the interface already organizes the drawings into different categories, levels, sublevels and layers, the user only needs to select the desired layer from the interface to assemble a drawing.

Once a drawing has been assembled with all the desired layers, it can be saved as an AutoCAD drawing for subsequent use and for sharing it with other people. When a drawing is saved, the AMINE Manager will save each layer to its appropriate location on the network and takes care of all the security aspects.

When a drawing is re-opened the next time, the Manager scans all the required layers to make check if any modifications were made and then loads the layers with the most up to date information..