The use of computer graphics and visualisation (from reconstruction to training) for the resource sector of Western Australia
The minerals and energy sector can rightly be classified as comprising an extremely hazardous working environment in which numerous situations exist for accidents and incidents involving personnel and equipment to occur. Accidents are often explained by what are referred to as 'human factor'. The often used explanation, 'technical-failure', gives the impression that technology lives a life of its own without human intervention. However, technical failure often occurs because of human errors in construction, installation, maintenance or operation. It is the person who triggers the risks who is made morally (and sometime legally) responsible. When an operator makes a mistake (an active error) he or she is personally blamed. When a designer or constructor makes a mistake, or when cheap or inferior equipment is bought, or when maintenance is faulty, the responsibility is depersonalised and it becomes a 'technology' fault (Sunderstrom-Frisk, 1998). This research examines ways of using expert information using computer graphics and visualisation to produce visual applications that demonstrate and explain, but also have the added ability to teach the user or viewer, with the intent to assess their competency. Today's technology provides educators, students, professional bodies and the general public access to large amounts of information in a visual form. We repackage technical literature and data as movies and videos for audiences to view, instead of reading the information. Understanding may be achieved rapidly instead of taking days, weeks or months. From a visual presentation the viewers absorb information, which is easy to retain. The reconstructions discussed in this research concern the minerals and energy sector of Western Australia. They not only show what went wrong but can also be customised to demonstrate how to prevent an accident/incident. The benefits of this to industry is primarily: the ability to reuse the reconstruction instead of closing down a production line that cost the company and industry many thousands of dollars, and no lives are exposed to hazardous environments while examining the reconstruction for investigation or training purposes.