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Why Core Photography with Imago leads to better Drilling and Mining Decisions

Imago is a cloud based core photography, image capture and management system that helps geologists and engineers to view core photos, drilling chip and other geological images with high performance, purpose designed viewing tools.

The instant access to core photos and improved experience of viewing core and chip tray photos means that your images start to be used continuously by your geologists to validate the geological decisions that influence all of your drilling and mining decisions. The importance of this cannot be overstated!

Regular cameras have rapidly increased the resolution of images with 30 to 50 megapixel options readily available at affordable prices. Off the shelf camera frames and Imago’s experience in camera and lighting setup for projects across the industry means that the process for capturing consistent, fit for purpose images is well understood and easy to implement.


Imago is integrated with LeapfrogMicromineSurpac and most other mine planning tools where images are opened in the Imago viewer with a single click on the drill hole trace.

Imago provides tools to make observations and measurements directly on images, reducing the time required in the core shed. Features can be highlighted and labeled for training and knowledge sharing. Assays and log data may be displayed alongside images in the Imago viewer and 3D image meshes can be generated and displayed along the drill trace in your mine planning tool to aid in resolving more complex geology.

The story of Imago begins with capturing consistent higher quality, correctly labelled core images more efficiently – instantly available for viewing from the Imago web library with a powerful viewing tool.

With Imago, a laptop is tethered to the camera. With a single click the Imago Capture software triggers the camera including:

  • Camera captures the core photographs, labels with Hole ID and depths and stores the image on the Laptop.
  • Core and Chip tray images are cropped to downhole depth registered images. Both the tray and cropped images are stored.
  • Auto save to PC with live or user initiated sync to Imago Cloud. Auto copy to internal file store for backup and compliance with corporate IT policies.
  • 100% secure within the Microsoft Cloud platform with flexible user permissions.

Images flow safely from the Camera to Imago Capture and the Imago Cloud for immediate use by geologists, engineers and managers.


how imago capture software works

The Imago workflow results in:

  • Elimination of naming and labeling errors.
  • Faster availability of images for geologists and managers.
  • Less double handling, delays, loss of images.
  • Images safely stored in Microsoft cloud and mirrored to your internal file store.
  • Images viewed from any location with a single click in your preferred modelling and planning tool (Leapfrog, Micromine etc).
  • Consistent high quality images that validate your geology, drilling and mining decisions.

Imago may be used at all stages of exploration, development and mining

  • Capture Core Tray images with core automatically cropped to down hole depth registered images.
  • Capture Chip Tray images, with cells automatically cropped and depth registered.
  • Capture images of Chip Piles at the drill site for exploration air drilling using Imago Mobile.
  • Capture field images, face samples, thin sections. Any type of geological image can be managed by Imago.

Imago strengthens your geological process

Most exploration and mining companies invest significant effort in capturing and storing core and drilling chip images. Most geologists feel that accessing those images is time consuming and image quality is often poor. There is significant value to be gained from improved quality, consistency and immediate access to images for every stage of the drilling, interpretation and modeling process including:

  • Quality of geological logging and re-logging.
  • Quality of interpretation and modeling.
  • Supervision and real time review of site-based drill chip and core logging.
  • Monitoring and review of active drilling programs.
  • Collaborative review and validation of geology using images.
  • Structure observation and measurement.

While the storage and access to core and chip images is the primary source of the value, Imago also provides advice to customers to help in achieving:

  • More efficient image capture.
  • Higher quality images in terms of consistency of colour, lighting and resolution.
  • Fit for purpose camera selection, capture stations and image capture process.

Machine Learning

Imago is collaborating with industry and investing in Machine Learning techniques focused on helping customers gain insights directly from their library of drilling sample and core images.

Core Photography Scenarios

Core Photos

Many projects invest significant effort into capturing core photography. Core sheds are often available providing a consistent light and protected image capture environment. However, equipment is also available that achieves good results in an outdoor capture setting.

Imago has worked with many customers to help improve image quality and consistency, especially in how to avoid the glare that may result from wet core photography.

With Imago, the user sets up a template for clipping the core trays into downhole images, registering each core section to its depth interval automatically when the image is captured.

The key benefits for core photography are:

  • A more efficient capture process.
  • Higher quality images with more consistent lighting.
  • Tray images are clipped automatically and registered down hole.
  • Images are easily viewed from head office:
    • Monitor active drilling programs.
    • Check and validate logging from head office.
    • Better collaboration by geologists in different locations, with easy access to images.
  • Instant access to images during geology interpretation and modeling.

Integrated with most mining planning and GIS systems used by Geologists.

Video of Core Shot motorized rig: Click to view >>

Image shows down hole images for three drill holes. Images are clipped and registered to depth during the image capture process:
core photography samples


Or view as core trays. This image shows core trays – viewed to scale (depth adjusted as trays may represent varying intervals):
core photo samples

Chip Tray Images

Chip Trays are easy to move and position for image capture. Imago has refined a procedure where Chip Trays slide through several positions on a slide jig, capturing each tray in 15-30 seconds. Motorized rigs are also now available with machine vision cameras for high volume, higher quality images.

Video of Chip Shot motorized rig: Click to view >>

Example of a manual capture station for chip trays:

photography setup for geological imagesExample of zooming in on high quality images.

core photography imaging

Chip Pile Images

Imago customers are trialing new techniques for chip photography to achieve high resolution, consistent lighting and an efficient process for chip pile image capture at the drill site.

The Imago mobile app (Android) organizes images by location and hole ID. Intervals automatically increment, making for an efficient capture process. Images may be captured offline, then synced to Imago Web when a connection is available, after which they are available to view in high resolution via a web browser.

The following image capture station is available from Imago to help customers to aid in capturing quality chip pile images with consistent lighting.


mobile chip imaging

Integration of core tray photography with Geology and Mine Planning tools

Imago has a wide range of integrations with geology, mine planning, database and GIS tools. See a list here:

Click for list of integrations >>

Most geology tools, such as Leapfrog, Micromine, Surpac, provide the ability to open core tray photos in the Imago web viewer by clicking the drill hole trace at the desired depth. The following image shows Leapfrog displaying the images by clicking a point on the Drill hole trace.

core photo integration with geology tools

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