Laser Scanning makes its mark in Melbourne’s largest rail project

Case study

Author: Tamara Stakic, Marketing Manager - Leica Geosystems, Australasia

Auspat Land Survey Australia (Auspat) is no stranger to servicing large multi-faceted infrastructure projects. The Australian engineering and infrastructure company has been engaged to provide surveying solutions on some of the largest and most significant infrastructure projects in Australia - from the M7 in Sydney, to Eastlink in Melbourne, the Gateway Duplication in Brisbane, the Superway in Adelaide and more recently Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel and Westgate Tunnel projects.

To deliver surveying and spatial solutions on the largest infrastructure projects in the country, Auspat recognises that digital and spatial technology innovation increases value to the client, enhances the quality and boosts productivity for project delivery. Utilising the latest technology allows Auspat to provide the best quality data and services to their clients.

Laying the foundation

The Metro Tunnel Project is the largest rail project in Melbourne, Australia since the City Loop was built in the 1970s. It involves building twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels and five underground stations from North Melbourne through to the Domain precinct, south of the CBD.

Auspat has been engaged on the project since 2018 and have been involved throughout many phases - from diaphragm wall (D-Wall) construction (Arden Station), excavation and early groundworks (station boxes and portals), tunnel entrance excavation, and station construction (Arden and Anzac stations).

The team initially deployed the Leica TS16 Total Station and Nova MS50 MultiStation to get the control network in place at station box sites and the portals. The goal was to set up a primary network of survey control for these sites. A reliable and accurate control network is imperative to the team at Auspat and using the Leica Geosystems total stations they successfully performed traverses around the sites.

The MS50 MultiStations were also used at Arden to scan and monitor the bulk earthworks, to calculate daily volumes and ensure station box excavation was carried out to design.

Seeing is believing

When commencing structural work and verification of design, the Leica ScanStation P40 survey-grade laser scanner was deployed. The ScanStation P40 scanner allowed the team to capture quick scans of the site, easily register scans in Leica Cyclone REGISTER (point cloud registration office software) and export the data for use in Leica Cyclone 3DR, to extract line work and surfaces.

 Cyclone 3DR was also used for 3D meshing of the Arden station walls and internal structures to assess potential deviations from design using point cloud data and heat maps.

“Our clients value the visual heatmaps, 3D data deliverables and 3D models because it is easy to comprehend and it visually helps to determine and show potential deviations in a complex environment. Also, the point cloud data is highly accurate, and this quality gives the team at Auspat that extra confidence to deliver the perfect data to the client. This visualisation makes it easy for our clients to compare the built structures to the design and to identify any deviations that must be addressed. Another benefit is that we can export our scans in multiple formats that can be used by most of the CAD packages our clients and designers use,” said Mal Friel, senior surveyor Auspat. 

A useful application of the ScanStation P40 laser scanner has been the ease and speed at which we can collect data in areas that would be challenging and time consuming using traditional method.

“These are just some of the additional value-adds that we can provide to our clients. Once they see the level of detail that a scanner can produce it becomes an easy decision for them. In a three-minute scan we can provide exactly what they required in their brief and even additional data that we didn’t initially set out to capture. This saves the team multiple site-visits,” explains Friel.

Scanning forward

Adopting laser scanning technology not only helped Auspat with deliverables but also helped them to meet project deadlines. Scanning technology allowed Auspat to complete their scans within five to 10 minutes per setup, with only one person needed to operate the scanner and without disrupting other project teams on site.

Auspat have been proud owners of the ScanStation P40 for over 12 months and haven’t looked back. With the addition of a scanner in their fleet, Auspat has expanded into additional services as well as being able to add value to their clients. With the ScanStation P40 scanner Auspat can now scan large areas and extract features or create a 3D DTM far quicker and with a higher level of detail than traditional feature surveys.

Having the capability to scan has allowed us to carry out surveys in complex environments such as rail corridors and freeways without the need for track or lane closures, providing considerable efficiencies to clients.

The adoption of scanning technology has made Auspat more efficient and in turn, they have been able to take on more feature survey work with consultancy and design agencies.

“More and more projects are asking for point clouds and clients are highly impressed with the data they are receiving, which greatly increases the likelihood of their repeat business.” said Friel.

The ScanStation P40 won over Auspat due to the familiar interface and easy adoption for the team. Programmes such as the “Resection” and “Traverse” functions on the scanner allowed us to have increased confidence in our data.

This meant that with the support and hands-on training from Leica Geosystems Australia distributor C.R. Kennedy and Sam Hesper, Scanning Specialist, the team at Auspat were able to get their scanning projects up and running quickly with confidence that support was just a phone call away.

We asked Mal if he had any advice for his peers or other companies thinking about adopting scanning technology. “Spend time understanding the client brief and focus on what’s most important to them. Don’t confuse the client with unnecessary data, present the most beneficial and useful deliverable that addresses the brief.”

What’s next for Auspat?

“We have already seen an increased demand for our scanning and drone services from the likes of precast yards, to verify bridge beams and check moulds, to large civil infrastructure projects asking us to capture aerial images and bulk earthwork volumes.

‘We want to continue exploring geospatial technology and expanding our capabilities. Having Leica and C.R Kennedy as partners gives us access to the latest advances in both hardware and software.

This ensures we will be able to keep offering our clients cutting edge solutions to their survey requirements,” said Friel.

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