It is always fun to watch a good explosion on TV.  It is even better to watch it in real life (that is, a planned explosion with strict safety rules to ensure you live through it). As drone pilots, we get to capture interesting aspects of other people’s lives.  And recently, this meant witnessing a planned explosion on a quarry.

Filming the explosion was our highlight, but the real value of drones for quarries is in the data it captures.  The data gives decision-makers the information they need to increase efficiency, lower costs and maximise their output. Drones do this through surveying and stockpile functions, but what we were there to witness on this particular quarry, was how a drone assists in the drilling and blasting operations.

A good explosion on a quarry is preceded by accurate drilling.  By comparing a georeferenced image – captured with a drone – with the blast plan, the drill hole alignment is made precise.  Essentially, through GPS co-ordinates, the drone can pinpoint the best places to drill.  And this results in a better-quality explosion.

An accurate explosion means that the quarry gets their sought-after rock fragmentation size, which in turn reduces crushing costs, equipment wear and tear, and other production losses.

Each explosion is then captured with a high-speed video from the vantage point of a drone, allowing the experts to analyse the blast, compare the drone data from before and after the blast, and make any adjustments for future blasts.

Here are some still frames of the blasts we captured:

An added benefit is that the drone live-streams the video, giving operators a way to confirm that all equipment and personnel are a safe distance from the blast site.

Being part of this blast operation was great fun and one of the jobs we will add to our list of unique experiences.  But more importantly, it points to yet another way drones – coupled with the right software – can be used to improve efficiency, safety and output across a variety of industries.

Aerialshots is a full-service video production company, specialising in drone videography and photography. To find out how a drone can benefit your industry, visit or email