Gary Hartsog of Alpha Engineering Services told International Longwall News this week that the event is a good opportunity for individuals to share ideas and interact with one another.
“By the nature of their work and locations, mine mapping professionals tend to work in small, isolated groups and have limited contact with others in their profession. These seminars give them the opportunity to exchange ideas, gain an understanding of how to deal with situations that they may not have encountered and develop an appreciation for how other professionals work,” Hartsog said.
After a successful basic-level seminar conducted in February 2003, it was held again that May, when the first advanced-level course was also offered. Both courses have been offered once a year since, making this month’s seminar Alpha’s eighth and ninth sessions. It will remain an annual event, “so long as there is need and interest”, Hartsog said.
The basic-level session is designed for professionals just beginning in the field or who may have limited knowledge of the sector. About 80% of the topics covered, Hartsog said, is fundamental information that is included in every year’s seminar. This year, that course is scheduled for May 18.
On May 19, the advanced level seminar will take place, of which about 90% is new information, he said. It includes GPS use and issues, emergency preparedness and response, issues surrounding regulations and certifications, mapping to determine tonnage, plan and permit preparation/approval and the use and misuse of digital map files.
Hartsog noted that the sessions are eligible for credit in two states and that plans are in place for the event to grow.
“[They] have been approved for Continuing Educations Credits (PDHs) by the Kentucky and West Virginia PS Boards. The West Virginia PE Board does not pre-certify courses but has accepted these in the past,” he said, adding that seminars in Kentucky are under development.
The increased concentration on mine mapping by state and federal regulatory groups, the need for workers to gain professional development hours, and the influx of new miners industry-wide are the reasons Alpha began hosting the courses, Hartsog said.
More than anything, he hopes attendees will take with them “an appreciation of the immense safety implications of what they are doing when they survey and prepare maps of underground workings”
The seminars are $US200 per day (lunch is provided) and the deadline for registration is May 10. For additional information and registration details, contact Ellen at Alpha Engineering on (304) 255-4131 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.