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Mining Information Communication

(ICT) Applications
H.T Mushonga

About Me
H.T Mushonga
M.Eng Geoinformatics and Geodesy
B.Sc. (Hon) Surveying

Office D3 (Ground floor)

This Course
• This course is offered to Level II Mining Engineering
students in their Second semester. No prerequisite is
• The final mark is made up of 25% course work and 75%
examination mark.
• Coursework marks are compiled during the session
from assignments, in-class tests and practical exercises.
• The examination is made up of 5 questions the first
question being compulsory and the student chooses
any three questions from the remaining questions.

This course: Aims and goals
• The aim of this course is to provide a broad overview of
Information and Communication Technologies from both a
theoretical and practical perspective.
• The fundamentals of information systems, software
development, database design and networking as well as
applications of these techniques to solve some real world
problems are investigated during lectures and lab practical
• Programming in Visual Basic .NET will be introduced and
combined with database design. This will equip students
with the requisite skills to design and develop software
systems of varying complexity in order to provide ICT
inspired solutions to challenges faced in the mining
This course : Objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to:
i. Understand the difference between data and
Information and how the change from data to
information takes place as well as the factors that
affect the quality of information.
ii. Apply knowledge of database design and software
development in order to solve challenges faced in the
mining industry.
iii.Demonstrate a clear understanding of the various
methods used to network computer systems.

This course: Content
i. Introduction to ICT
ii. Fundamentals of Information Systems
iii. Safety and security of data in ICT systems
iv. Software
v. Fundamentals of Computer Programming
vi. Introduction to Databases
vii. Communication Networks
viii. Applications of ICT in:
 Mining geology,
 Mine planning,
 Mineral processing,
 Production modelling,
 Rock mechanics,
 Operations research,
 Financial analysis of mining ventures
ix. ICT innovations (possible future developments)
This course: assessment
• 3 In-class tests
• 2 Assignments (Presentations)
• 2 Practical exercises
• 3 hours exam paper

Introduction to ICT

H.T Mushonga

Lecture objectives
• To know the definition of ICT and ICT System.
• To understand difference between data and
Information and how the change from data to
information takes place.
• To understand the Capabilities and limitations
of ICTs.
• To understand the value and importance of

What is ICT?
1. ICT means using any form of modern technology
for the collection, storage, processing and
sending of information
2. ICT means use of technology for input, process,
storage and transfer of data and the output of
– This can be using computers or other devices such as
mobile phones.
– All ICTs work on the basis of three stages Input,
Process and Output (I.P.O)

ICT system
• A system is a collection of elements or components that
are organized for a common purpose
• Any activity that involves input, processing and output, E.g.
Digestive system

• ICT System
1. An ICT system is a set-up consisting of hardware,
software, data and the people who use them. It
commonly includes communications technology, such as
the Internet.
2. A system that uses any form of digital technology to input
and process data and output the information which goes
directly to a human or into another system.
E.g. online holiday booking system
Three main types of ICT systems
1. Information systems. This type of ICT
system is focused on managing data and
information. ...
2. Control systems. These ICT systems
mainly control machines. ...
3. Communications systems. The output of
these ICT systems is the successful
transport of data from one place to

Examples of ICT systems
• An example of an ICT System is an
Management Information System (MIS).
• Large organisations use these systems at a
strategic level (Managing Directors, Leaders of
a business)
• They use them to help collect, combine and
analyse data from other systems e.g. HR
Systems, Transaction Processing Systems

Information and Data
Data: raw facts and figures that are recorded

What are the different types of data?

• Text
• Numeric
• Boolean/Logical
• Images
• Audio
• Video

Information and Data
• Information: Organized or classified data, which has
some meaningful values for the receiver.
• Information is the processed data on which decisions
and actions are based.
• Information must have a context which makes it
• A bank account number 77 567 211. this number has
no context, it is data
• When the account number 77 567 211 is entered into a
bank’s computer system and name address and bank
balance of the account holder are displayed. This data
has been given context, it is information.
ICT System – Input, Process, Output
• Entering data into the computer or other
• The data could be:
– bank account number
– PIN number
– Barcode
– Phone numbers on a mobile phone

ICT System – Input, Process, Output
1. Means manipulating this data into information in a form
understandable to the user.
2. Manipulating (calculating, querying, searching) the
input data into information that is understandable to
the user
• This might be
– looking up of an account, whose account number has been
entered or performing a calculation on numbers that have
been entered.
– Searching the contacts in your mobile phone, identifying the
correct entry and activating a call

ICT System – Input, Process, Output
• Means presenting this information to the user
or the outside world.
• It should be in a form that the user
understands i.e. It should have context.
• It could be printed or displayed on a screen or
it could be audible e.g. an alarm telling users
to evacuate a building.

ICT System – Input, Process, Output

Data Information
Input Process Output

Photos from Crop and Improved

Digital Airbrush in Photos
Camera Graphics Displayed

ICT System – Input, Process, Output
• ICTs also use feed back, which means using the
output from the computer to influence the input
• For example a customer using a supermarket self
scanning machine can see the total cost of goods
scanned so far

Components of an ICT systems
• Remember: A system is a collection of elements or
components that are organized for a common purpose
• The components of an ICT system are:
1. People
2. Software
3. Hardware
4. Data
5. Information
6. Procedures

Components of an ICT systems
• Hardware: Physical components of an ICT system
e.g. Printer, scanner, monitor, server, switches
• Software: Computer Programs that make the
hardware do something useful
• People:
– Testing of a system
– Sales
– Purchasing
– Finance
– Operations
– Internal and External personnel
Components of an ICT systems
Procedures: A series of actions or operations intended to
achieve a result
• ICT Systems usually involve a number of procedures that have
to be undertaken to make sure that the system can run
• A code of practice (guidelines and regulations set out by the
• Legal procedures (cybercrime and cyber security act 2017)
• Backup procedures Security procedures

Looking Back!

Introduction to ICT (II)
Data and Information

Data: raw facts and figures that are recorded

What are the different types of data?

• Text
• Numeric
• Boolean/Logical
• Images
• Audio
• Video

Data capture
• Data capture means the collection of data into a
• Data can be input into a computer directly and
• Examples of direct data capture include
– A computer reading a bar code in a supermarket
– Account details being read from the magnet strip on
an ATM card
– Information being read directly from a sensor.
• An example of indirect data capture is when ventilation
technicians at a mine collect air speed readings from
the mine then goes back to the office and types in the
Quality of the Data Source
• In ICT GIGO stands for
Garbage In Garbage Out
• It relates to Information
only being as good as the
data that is input i.e. put
incorrect data into a
system (accidently or
deliberately) then the
information that is
output will be incorrect.
Quality of the Data Source
Examples of GIGO can include:
• Unreliable questionnaires/surveys
– e.g. inappropriate samples, badly
worded questions etc.
• Incorrectly calibrated instruments
– e.g. an incorrectly calibrated balance
will give incorrect measures of mass
• Human error
– e.g. transcription errors when entering
• Incomplete data sets
– e.g. failing to account for “shrinkage”
when measuring supermarket stock
Coding data
• Data is coded to reduce data entry and reduce
the need for storage space e.g.
• M or F for gender.
• Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr, Sa, Su for days of the
• S, M, L, XL, XXL for sizes

Benefits of Coding
1) The code is usually short and quicker to enter
– Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr, Sa, Su are shorter and thus quicker to

2) The code takes up less storage space on the computer

– M and F require less storage space than male and female.

3) Validation is easier
– With a limited number of codes it is easier to match them
against rules to check if they are entered correctly

4) Using a code ensures that the data stored is consistent

Drawbacks of Coding
1) Precision of data can be lost Data in
– In the example all shades of
Pink Blue Black Blue
blue are coded as “blue”

2) Coding can obscure the Stored data

meaning of the data
– for example the country ISO
code for Switzerland is CHE
– ZWE, AUT, SWE , DEU???
Drawbacks of Coding
3) Coding value judgements
• When you are collecting data about
people's opinions it might be difficult
to code their answers with accuracy.
• For example, you might ask the
question, “is the air quality good?".
Your plan is to give the answers a code
from 1-5 with 1 being very good to 5
being very bad. However, what is very
good to one person will be okay to
• The code they give will depend on
their individual opinion.
• Coding of value judgments will
inevitably lead to coarsening of the
data since there will be a wide range
of opinions that could be held and only
a limited number of codes available.
Value and importance of information
• Directly linked to how it helps decision
makers achieve their organization’s goals
Valuable information:
• Can help people and their organizations
perform tasks more efficiently and effectively

• Information is data that has been processed,
put into context and given a meaning. It must
be understandable to the user

Quality of information
Factors affecting quality of information include:
• Up to date/ Timely
• Complete
• Relevant
• Comprehensible/Understandable
• Accurate
• Reliable
• Concise
• Availability
• Cost-effectiveness 37
Value and importance of information
• Since information is already in a summarized form, it
must be understood by the receiver so that he will
interpret it correctly. He must be able to decode any
abbreviations, shorthand notations or any other
acronyms contained in the information.
• Information may be useless if it is not readily accessible
in the desired form, when it is needed. Advances in
technology have made information more accessible
today than ever before.

Value and importance of information
• Information is good only if it is relevant. This means
that it should be pertinent and meaningful to the
decision maker and should be in his area of
• It should contain all the facts that are necessary for the
decision maker to satisfactorily solve the problem at
hand using such information. Nothing important
should be left out. Although information cannot always
be complete, every reasonable effort should be made
to obtain it.

Value and importance of information
• The information should be counted on to be
trustworthy. It should be accurate, consistent
with facts and verifiable. Inadequate or
incorrect information generally leads to
decisions of poor quality. For example, sales
figures that have not been adjusted for
returns and refunds are not reliable.

Value and importance of information
• Information must be delivered at the right time and the
right place to the right person. Premature delivery of
information can lead to the information becoming obsolete
or be forgotten by the time it is actually needed.

• Similarly, some crucial decisions can be delayed because

proper and necessary information is not available in time,
resulting in missed opportunities. Accordingly the time gap
between collection of data and the presentation of the
proper information to the decision maker must be reduced
as much as possible.

Value and importance of information
• The information is not desirable if the solution
is more costly than the problem. The cost of
gathering data and processing it into
information must be weighed against the
benefits derived from using such information.

Value and importance of information
• Too much information is a big burden on
management and cannot be processed in time
and accurately due to “bounded rationality”.
Bounded rationality determines the limits of
the thinking process which cannot sort out
and process large amounts of information.
Accordingly, information should be to the
point and just enough – no more, no less.

Introduction to ICT (III)
Capabilities and Limitations of ICTs

Capabilities of ICTs
i. Fast speed of processing
ii. They have vast storage capacity
iii. Fast speed of searching for data
iv. Greater accuracy and speed of data communication
v. Easy to produce different output formats
vi. They perform repetitive tasks well
vii. They are automatic, they can work with minimum
human supervision
viii. They can link to other computer systems or electronic

Limitations of ICT
• Hardware limitations - speed of components
• Software limitations - poorly written or
incompatible software
• Communication limitations - communication
bottleneck - shared broadband?
• Inappropriate design - poorly designed
• Poor data control and mechanisms - GIGO,
The End