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Wharf Scanning Pilot for Port of Brisbane

Project Overview

Until recently, it was not possible to undertake thorough site surveys beneath the Port of Brisbane’s wharf structures due to restrictive access requirements, health and safety challenges and limitations in the traditional data capture methodologies. Methods to date tended to rely on visual inspections to assess wharf structures and condition assessments.

Following investigation and planning, SMEC’s Ports and Survey teams completed a pilot to test an innovative new laser scanning solution on a 100m section of Wharf 1. This technique has potential to be implemented across a greater survey extent as part of further works for the Port.

The 3D laser scan provided the Port with visibility of their wharf structures, including the underside and the immediate revetment interface, where structural elements can be objectively and safely assessed, and monitored for long-term movement.

Our Role

Our 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 using the path generated by the SLAM scanner.

This integration of data and advancement of survey techniques provide the Port of Brisbane with greater survey coverage of the wharf and allow assets to be mapped in a more time and cost-effective way.


This project was a finalist in the 2020 Consult Australia Excellence Awards in the category of Technological Innovation.

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Technical Area:
Port of Brisbane

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