State-of-the-art mapping system is a game changer



Mark Farber, Manager, scanning and mapping department, H2H Associates, LLC., and Dr. Richard A. Hisert, New York, United States



Situational awareness has always been a challenge for those who manage ports, harbours, canals and lock systems. Until recently, having an integrated, realtime view of these challenging marine environments was only possible with very large and expensive survey vessels and/or dive teams. That system has all changed with the development of a new class of lightweight survey vessel that is capable of simultaneously capturing 3D data above  and below the water surface with extremely high resolution and accuracy. This article will provide a look at how these rapidly deployable, sophisticated 3D mapping vessels are disrupting the status quo making it possible for facility managers to make more informed decisions, reduce risk and lower maintenance costs.

New York State Canal Corporation

The New York State Canal System is a navigable 524-mile inland waterway network that spans upstate New York. The waterway which includes the Erie and Champlain canals connects the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, and Lake Erie via the Niagara River. Today it is mostly used for recreational boating, but at one time these were the most important inland waterways in the country. In the spring of 2013 the New York State Canal Corporation (Canal Corp.) issued a request for proposal for mapping services to support their canal maintenance programme. “We were using a single point bathymetric system up until then,” noted Joe Capovani, the inspection and maintenance programme manager. “We knew from our engineers that 3D survey technology was out there,” he added. H2H Associates, LLC with headquarters in Troy, NY (their offices are adjacent to the Hudson River just a mile and a half south of the first lock on the canal system) had been providing 3D mapping services on land to a number of clients using their mobile LiDAR data collection system mounted on a SUV for years. They had been looking for an opportunity to propose the use of the 3D marine mapping technology vessel that they had been researching. Because this system was specifically designed to be lightweight and portable, H2H knew that the combination of multibeam sonar, laser scanning and GPS on a highly manoeuvrable, lightweight boat could provide wide area above and below water 3D data capture at a very cost effective price. A proposal was submitted for 3D mapping services, and the Canal Corp. awarded H2H an inspection services contract.

Rapid response

As part of their regular …

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