GMW surveying team embraces innovation

Wednesday 27 July, 2022

Goulburn-Murray Water’s (GMW) surveying methods have radically changed in recent years as new technologies have made data capturing more accurate, efficient, and safer.

GMW’s Surveying Services team covers a wide range of assets and infrastructure and a similarly wide range of equipment is therefore needed.

The Z Boat is one of the most crucial pieces of surveying equipment GMW utilises. It provides accurate mapping of underwater features, which is particularly useful for GMW’s desilting surveys.

The Z Boat can scan several kilometres of channel each day, providing a “complete picture” rather than estimates drawn from traditional, tactile survey methods, some of which involved field staff having to wade into hazardous channels with their surveying equipment.

Survey Services manager Avni Bekirofski said new technologies had enabled GMW to take significant strides in the surveying field.

“The Z Boat is part of a suite of tools used in GMW surveying that epitomise how survey technology has rapidly evolved into remote sensing as a more accurate, efficient and safer survey method,” he said.

“The days of traditional measuring and paper blueprints are gone. As a business, we are committed to innovating and taking a more data driven approach to improve our services, and new surveying technologies are central to this.”

GMW has also been developing its GPS controlled machine guidance system. This system creates a 3D computer model which construction works can be based on.

Plant operators view the model guidance on an on-board screen while project managers can view the operations of the plant remotely. This allows for real-time oversight of progress and accurate excavation and placement of material, helping reduce delays.

GMW first used machine guidance for the upgrade of Tullaroop Dam in 2016. The technology minimised the need for surveyors to trek across steep embankments and work around heavy machinery.

The benefits the machine guidance system has created means GMW is eager to increase the use of it in future projects.

Various other 3D modelling tools are also being utilised by GMW to improve its surveying.

“3D modelling has practical applications for all manner of works, from planning to construction, maintenance to monitoring. It enables us to operate more safely by allowing remote surveying of places or structures where access might otherwise be dangerous,” said Mr Bekirofski.

“These survey tools complement each other and position GMW as being able to provide a complete, state-of-the-art, surveying service that can be tailored to different needs.”