SMEC’s Ports, Urban and Geotechnical teams have been partnering with the Port of Brisbane (“the Port”) on a number of projects to assist with the management and enhancement of the Port’s assets.

We recently employed advanced laser scanning techniques to solve a survey challenge for our client. Previously, it was not possible to undertake thorough site surveys beneath the Port’s wharf structures due to restrictive access requirements, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) challenges and limitations in traditional data capture methodologies.

After some investigation and planning, SMEC proposed and implemented a survey methodology that has now provided the Port of Brisbane with key data on the underside of their wharf structures and the immediate revetment interface. This approach provides better visibility, allowing structural elements to be objectively and safely assessed and monitored for long-term movement from behind a desk.

The methodology integrated Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) to measure the top side of the wharf, with Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) laser scanning for the underside of the wharf and piles, and a dual frequency depth sounder for an underwater measurement. The point cloud datasets were combined by utilising targets placed on the sea-side of the wharf. The data from the depth sounder was aligned by using the path generated by the SLAM scanner. This integration of data and advanced survey techniques provides the Port of Brisbane with greater survey coverage of the wharf and enables assets to be mapped in a more time and cost-effective manner.

The principal challenge for SMEC was managing health and safety, ensuring that employees were safe at all times. Access beneath the wharves at low tide, interfacing with other subcontractors beneath the wharf, co-ordinating with the shipping schedule at Berth, passing Port vessel traffic and changing weather were all key risks successfully managed by our teams through collaboration and communication.

“Our survey team prides ourselves in finding solutions to data capture problems for our valued clients,’ said Rohan Bakker, Manager of SMEC’s Melbourne-based survey team.

With data collated from successive surveys, the Port will be in a better position to plan maintenance activities and monitor structure performance over time.

Image caption: Team member using a Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) laser scanner to scan the side and underside of the wharf.