AERIAL SURVEYS AND 3D GROUND MODELLING – COMBINED APPROACH
The application of aerial drone surveys and the integration with 3D subsurface ground modelling can produce rapid, accurate, visual representations of topographic and subsurface ground conditions. Can it be argued that model outputs convey data more easily to stakeholders and development designers in comparison to a written document?
The use of aerial survey techniques to provide visual imagery quickly across large site areas, allied to the use of advanced photogrammetry to deliver accurate topographic terrain mapping which can be used for design, has the potential to provide cost-effective alternatives to traditional surveying methods. Subtle differences in topography which may reflect geo-morphological impacts relating to the underlying geology, are more likely to be identified. Stunning imagery for marketing use and audit purposes where site conditions and development progress can be monitored and demonstrated to all involved in the development, planning and sales process may also be considered as a step up from traditional consultation.
The evolution of digital terrain information combined with site specific geological data derived from intrusive ground investigation is leading to ever more impressive creations of scaled, rotatable 3D sub-surface ground models which can be interrogated to assess and present features of concern utilising the skill and interpretation of experienced professional geologists and geotechnical/geo-environmental specialists.
Ultimately the fusion of the two aspects delivers an interactive 3D visual representation of the ground surface and geotechnical conditions beneath the proposed development area which can be used within a Building Information Modelling (BIM) workflow for engineering design.
The presentation of the data in a visual form to designers and regulators surely presents a simple and improved means of conveying complex technical data and a consistent and effective mechanism for understanding and communicating key in-ground issues. Considerable time could be saved and decision making improved as a result.
Combined terrain and sub-surface ground model within a BIM workflow could also allow multidiscipline designs to be considered within the same co-ordinate system, ensuring simplified above and below ground design compilation and checking. Immediate consideration of the impact of design changes which might be influenced by the topographic and sub-surface ground conditions across the design team could also be of significant benefit. Expedient re-calculation of cut and fill volumes may also facilitate a greater span of options to be considered for improved and more cost-effective design evaluation.
Resistance to this revolution seems to be in relation to perception and in the ‘letting-go’ of traditional methods, whereby a doubling of efforts from each technique to provide confidence may initially be needed by some. Can the industry and software providers do more to reassure?
It seems that advances in technology and software will soon enable this approach to be applied widely and cost effectively for engineering viability and design evaluation. The application to every-day development projects represents an exciting opportunity to reduce project risks and assist in delivering improved environmental sustainability, particularly when considering waste management and earthworks development aspects.
T&P Regeneration Ltd
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