At the request of the New Zealand Government, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) Flight is to conduct a rapid hydrographic survey of the seafloor in the coastal margins of the north east coast of the South Island.
RAN LADS commanding officer, Flight Lieutenant Commander Susanna Hung, explained the mission. “We will fly over the area and collect hydrographic survey data, which will reveal what has happened below the waterline, and identify any shifts in the ocean floor which mariners need to be aware of.”
The RAN’s Airborne lidar Bathymetry (ALB) system has been developed by Fugro for safe, high speed and cost effective surveys of shallow coastal areas. Under a long term contract to the RAN, Fugro provides the LADS technology, a de Havilland Dash 8-202 aircraft and support services.
The airborne survey equipment is operated by navy personnel from the main cabin of the aircraft to rapidly collect high resolution data of the seafloor. Fugro’s system incorporates sophisticated sensors that utilise a high powered laser, and innovative scanner and receiver optics technology. The survey tool complements traditional hydrographic survey methods (such as hull-mounted multibeam echo sounders) to support nautical charting and coastal zone management applications in the nearshore/shallow water environment. The speed of deployment and safe operating capability make it an ideal solution to confirm the safety of navigation and locate new hazards such as is now required in the earthquake affected area.
“The New Zealand deployment by RAN LADS is an excellent example of how our innovative technology can assist in the safety of navigation and management of the marine environment,” said Paul Seaton, Fugro’s Regional Business Development Manager.