Armidale Regional Council and the University of New England (UNE) have collaborated to take advantage of an opportunity to undertake aerial surveying using lidar technology.
Council Project Engineer, Arun Gautam, said both organisations were anticipating the need to collect data using a lidar flight.
“When it was discovered that the NM Group’s helicopter would be in the area, UNE PhD student Arjan Wilkie saw the potential and developed a plan to ensure that local projects could be completed,” Mr Gautam said. “The NM Group’s lidar flight was able to gather data at the UNE SMARTfarm (Mount Duval), at the UNE Campus and around Puddledock Dam for Armidale Regional Council.”
The helicopter was on its way from Brisbane to Tasmania for a powerline maintenance project and they were offering their services en-route at a rate that was free of the usual mobilisation and ferrying costs, which is a significant saving. Mr Wilkie recognised the potential that by combining the three project areas there would be additional savings for all three projects, highlighting the value of working together.
The flight consists of a crewed helicopter mounted with a specialised high-resolution lidar and camera sensor package that is able to map the ground and tree canopy accurately, to within a few centimetres.
This lidar + aerial photo will provide a baseline dataset for the ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the UNE rural properties and Campus; and will be used for current research on carbon sequestration, riparian management and fauna movement. Council is using the data for the consequence assessment of a potential Puddledock Dam break. Puddledock Dam, a supplementary water supply dam, is on Puddledock Creek about 14km north of Armidale.
Partners in the project are UNE’s School of Environmental and Rural Science, Precision Agriculture Research Group at UNE, UNE Facilities and Management Services, and Armidale Regional Council. The project has been coordinated by Mr Arjan Wilkie, an Armidale resident and current-PhD student at UNE in the school of ERS and a member of PARG, studying high-resolution carbon accounting.
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