Project protecting unique environment turns to Trimble

A world-first ecological project team has employed Trimble technology as part of a push to rid an island environment of rodents. 

Located about 600km east of the NSW coast, Lord Howe Island’s isolation and its varied landscape are home to many unique and endemic species. 

This includes 241 species of indigenous plants, almost 50% of which are found nowhere else in the world; 207 species of bird, including the endangered Lord Howe Island Woodhen; and 1,600 terrestrial insect species, including the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island phasmid. 

The presence of exotic rodents on islands is one of the greatest causes of species extinction in the world. 

Rats have already been implicated in the extinction of five endemic bird species, at least 13 species of endemic invertebrates, and two plant species on the island. 

Rodents are also a recognised threat to at least 13 other bird species, two reptiles, 51 plant species, 12 vegetation communities and seven species of threatened invertebrates on the island. 

Trimble GNSS technology was used during the implementation of a rodent baiting program which was part of the LHIB’s Protecting Paradise Program, an island-wide, holistic ecological restoration program. 

The simple requirement was to find the best GNSS available that could integrate with LHIB’s field mapping software to lay out bait stations in a precise 10m x 10m grid across specific areas on the island, mainly in habituated areas. 

As well, GNSS was required for hand spreading baits in buffer zones between settled areas of the island and mountainous areas, which had been aerial baited. 

A number of GNSS options were trialled and with the tree and other foliage canopy being substantial in much of the target area, many of the trialled GNSS weren’t up to the task, in particular in relaying data to the phones being used for data capture. 

The best equipped tool was the Trimble R10. 

Twenty R10 rovers, receiving corrections broadcasted from an R10 base station and TDL450 repeater were the backbone of the solution. 

Android deviceswere used as handheld controllers with TrimbleGNSS Statussoftware installed. 

GNSS Statuswas using the R10 rover as its location source and the Android devicesMock Locationswas set to GNSS Status. 

This setup effectively provided the Android devices running the LHIB’s mapping software with RTK precision. 

A simple stake out to the grid points to lay the baits in the correct location was field workflow. 

Grant Harper, from Biodiversity Restoration Specialists, said for such a complex and large operation, accuracy and dependability was essential. 

“This is the largest eradication program of its kind ever undertaken anywhere in the world,” he said. 

“We needed to lay out around 19,000 bait stations plus about 6,000 hand broadcast points. 

“We did a lot of trialling of equipment for this project and the Trimble gear stood out, particularly for its accuracy. 

“It is a very complex site as it includes around 900 buildings of all sizes, so the accuracy was crucial. 

 “As well, the team from UPG was very helpful and quickly understood what we needed to do with the R10 units. 

 “Nothing was too much trouble for them – it was a good experience. 

“We used about 20 R10s and they pulled them from around Australia for us. Most projects would use one or two so to be able to provide that many was brilliant.” 

Grant said that while the program was set to end in early November, it would be 12 months before its success of otherwise was known. 

“We have to wait to see if any breeding happens post baiting,” he said. 

“This kind of project is very binary – we either have or haven’t eradicated the rodents.” 

At its core, the Protecting Paradise Program aims to support the removal of destructive invasive species, namely rodents and noxious weeds, while maintaining protection of threatened species by establishing a sustainable and robust bio security system to prevent the introduction and establishment of invasive species. 

These programs complement significant achievements to date including the eradication of cats and pigs in the 1980’s, feral goats in 1999, and myrtle rust in 2018, a world-first. 

To learn more about how Trimble technology can take your operations to a new level, contact us today. 

Taking the future in hand

Trimble this year introduced the GIS market to the TDC150, a product designed for customers who require a simple all-in-one data collection solution for high accuracy GIS field work.

Let’s take a look at some of its key features as highlighted by the Trimble team.

Scalable, High-accuracy Positioning

With the TDC150 in hand, a user can achieve scalable accuracy from a metre down to centimetre level, which is the finest measurement available in the industry. This accuracy is due to a built-in high performance GNSS receiver and antenna tracking multiple satellite constellations and enabling scalable high-accuracy data logging.

Four accuracy configurations are available from Trimble distributors: centimetre, decimetre, sub-metre and metre. Users can upgrade accuracy as needed (and as their budget allows) and that upgrade can be permanent or a temporary monthly option.

“Usually, when you want to collect high accuracy data, you can’t just go with a device in your hand. Usually you have a 2-meter pole plus a controller,” Eric Moisset, Trimble product marketing manager, said.

“With the TDC150, we wanted to be able to collect high accuracy data while holding the device in the hand.”

Precise positioning is also achievable in conjunction with the handheld convenience—thanks to a software workflow supported by both Trimble TerraFlex™ and Trimble Penmap® for Android applications—and a “virtual pole” system, which is accessed from a camera in the back of the receiver.

“We’ve brought something really exceptional to the market,” Moisset said.

“The Trimble TDC150’s virtual pole system configuration is new and customers like it because it’s easy to understand and use in various field scenarios.”

By utilising this back “downward” camera view, users employ a virtual pole to accurately locate the antenna over the desired location on the ground. Through the virtual pole system, the downward camera is displayed with two red “target” circles. The user tilts the device to align the two circles. When both circles turn green and a log button appears, the camera is showing accurate positioning of the antenna.

Modern-day Interface with Android 6.0 Operating System and Rugged Design

With a contemporary and simple interface and Android platform, the TDC150 is able to be customised with the ability to install and run any application from the Google Play Store, third-party applications or any Android-compatible developed software. Additional operating features that allow for easy and reliable field data collection and storage, as well as field-to-office information exchange, include:

  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor paired with 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of internal storage;
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and 4G LTE;
  • GIS mobile apps such as Trimble, TerraFlex, Trimble Penmap for Android and Esri Collector for ArcGIS®; and,
  • a long-life, user-replaceable battery.

The TDC150, with its ultra-rugged and ergonomic, yet easily portable and lightweight design, was developed to withstand drops and shocks that are typical in the field. The device, which is IP67-rated and was tested to MIL-STD-810F ruggedness standards, has a 5.3” touch screen with bright display and a “smartphone feel” for users.

“We believe with this solution we will cover a very wide range of market segments,” Moisset said, “including mining; oil, gas and chemical; forestry; electric and gas utilities; water and wastewater utilities; field service management; geospatial; land administration; local government; military/defence and forensics, among others.”

With a user-friendly interface and a wide range of accuracy options for a variety of field uses, Trimble’s TDC150 is set to be a go-to device for GIS. To learn more about Trimble products, visit here.

 

Mine of information for PNG survey team

It wasn’t quite just another day in the office for UPG’s Peter Thomson when he travelled to Australia’s nearest neighbour to train staff at PNG’s largest mine, Ok Tedi.

Peter, a technical consultant – team lead with UPG who is based in Brisbane, spent a week at the mine, working from the village of Tabubil in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province.
He was tasked with static survey training of a seven-person survey team, helping that team create its own best procedures and practices.

The team is employing Trimble GNSS receivers and TSC3 controllers, and using TBC to process the Static data.

“Static survey provides a baseline for the mines control network. This type of survey is primarily used to create control where no control exists to very high accuracies.
– when it is correct it means the work done from it will also be precise,” Peter said.

“Aside from the actual training, I also shared insight into how other sites around Australia are doing similar work so the Ok Tedi Mine team could take those ideas and look at if they were apt for their site.

“I provided all the information and then they take that and make their own decisions to create site-specific practices and procedures.”

This was Peter’s first time in PNG and he said he had enjoyed not only the remote location, but working with the team, who are a mix of locals and FIFO workers from PNG and Australia.
“It all felt very safe, which is often a concern for people going to PNG, but there were simply no problems,” Peter said.

The Ok Tedi Mine is an open-pit copper and gold mine at the headwaters of the Ok Tedi River that has been in operation since 1981, when it was operated by BHP.

The mine is now operated by Ok Tedi Mining Limited which is majority-owned by the PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited.
The mine accounts for 25.7% of the country's entire export earnings.

Getting to the bottom of WW1 tunnels

During World War I, 120,000 New Zealanders were sent overseas. Of those, none were more critical to the war effort than the tough miners, quarrymen, and labourers of the New Zealand Engineers Tunnelling Company (NZETC).

The men of the NZTEC were recruited for a specific mission: To create a network of tunnels between a series of abandoned quarries in Arras, France. The result would be a 2.3km-long subterranean passage through which allied soldiers could move safely during a planned assault.

The work played a crucial role in the subsequent battle. But their efforts have been largely forgotten. So when researchers Pascal Sirguey and Richard Hemi, from New Zealand’s National School of Surveying at the University of Otago, stumbled onto their story, they vowed to preserve what remained of their countrymen’s work.

Sirguey and Hemi devised a project, LiDARRAS, which would use lidar technology to capture a digital record of the tunnel network, one that they could use to honour the men during the World War I centennial. It was a big task. They would have to survey and scan what remained of the tunnels, and then create 3D models and a virtual environment of the caverns. And it all needed to be completed in just two years.

The two scholars had used scanning technology on other projects. So after talking with a scanning expert, they chose the Trimble TX8 3D laser scanner to help with their ambitious goals.

From the beginning, Siguey and Hemi envisioned LiDARRAS as a bicultural project. They formed a team of five students from universities in New Zealand and France.

The LiDARRAS Solution

The WWI-era tunnels in Arras, France are awe-inspiring. Large enough to accommodate 24,000 men, they contain a light rail system, a hospital, electric lights, kitchens, running water and living quarters. To quickly and accurately capture them, the researchers and their students chose the Trimble TX8 scanner, which enabled them to:

  •     Collect one million points per second
  •     Produce 3D coordinates with millimetre precision
  •     Capture high-density colour photographic data for realistic texturing of a 3D model
  •     Use Trimble RealWorks software to create high-resolution photorealistic models, even in the dim light of the tunnels

Each day, the students would begin scanning in one quarry and progress to the end of another. Thanks to the lightning-fast TX8 scanner and its DSLR camera capabilities, they completed up to 63 scans per day and captured dozens of high-resolution photos to colorise the point clouds.

“The speed of the scanner was phenomenal,” Sirguey said.

Over the course of LiDARRAS, the team completed nearly 1000 scans and collected about 100 billion points, making it one of the larger scanning projects processed in New Zealand. The final point cloud features about 25 billion points.

In addition to the scans, the students captured 9768 photos, which they processed into 814 panoramas. They also surveyed a georeferenced network of 32 control
 marks, including outside and underground marks, using static GNSS and total stations. The team processed its data in Trimble RealWorks software.

Shortly before the project was completed, the students and researchers were invited to attend the remembrance ceremony of the Battle of Arras. There, they shared details of
 their work and unveiled an animation of the underground network. The team also generated a fly-through inside the 3D point cloud, to demonstrate the full extent of the completed survey.

“LiDARRAS went beyond what we ever expected. The data and imagery was excellent, and we had everything documented and turned over to the city of Arras in time for the anniversary. But beyond its technical and historical merits for the general public, the project offered a unique opportunity to preserve a piece of history, Sirguey said.

Following the presentation at the ceremony, a regional agency conducting an inventory of tunnels in northern France approached Sirguey about the work at Arras. The agency asked for assistance in producing a “light” resampled version of the point cloud, as well as a footprint of the area scanned, to be added to its inventory.

“This is precisely the outcome we anticipated,” Sirguey said. “It’s pleasing to see how the project is contributing to other projects already.”

To learn more about the scanning solution click here

UPG keeps an eye on Brisbane’s tallest

When one of Australia’s truly landmark projects, the record-breaking Brisbane Skytower needed a real-time monitoring solution they turned to UPG to help. 

Hutchinson Builders, who are constructing the 90 floor, 270m tower that will boast 1141 apartments and will be one of the Southern Hemispheres tallest residential buildings, were restricted by the Civil Aviation Safety Authorities (CASA) height limit of 274.3m over Brisbane’s CBD, which restricts the height the crane can work at. 

The height ceiling has been put on the crane as it is operating in a critical flight path for the nearby Brisbane International Airport and any structure in this zone can interfere with the airport’s radar and navigational control systems. 

Permission was granted for the crane to operate above the height limit during daylight hours only and with strict conditions, including the continual monitoring of the crane height by CASA, based in Canberra, and by Brisbane Airport itself.   

The solution was to place the crane on hydraulic jacks that raise and lower the crane as required.  GPS monitoring units were needed on top of the A-Frame and end of the boom to then transmit the data to a secure website.  

UPG was contracted to install the system and within a week the monitoring system was live, allowing parties from around the country to access a live feed of the data. Trimble 4D delivered this effectively and with a variety of views and information.  

“We created a customised view that displays various graphs and images on a single online page to allow one-stop viewing for all required details,” UPG’s Brent Dawson said. 

The installation of the monitoring technology on the crane was not one for anybody with a fear of heights, as the photos show, requiring the operators to scale the boom to place the NetR9 TIMs. 

The system allows real-time monitoring to ensure the crane is parked safely at night as well as not operating outside the allowed limit during the day or during inclement low-visibility weather conditions.  

“We initially used the UPG Monitoring As A Service (MAAS). Along with our on-site surveyor, their team of experts commissioned and managed the system,” Hutchinson Builders Andy Rivers said. 

“Using MAAS allowed us to have a system deployed and operational, and we could be trained at a later date before taking ownership. After a few months of seeing the long-term benefits, and because the Trimble 4D software is so user-friendly, Hutchinson’s can easily use the system on future developments for monitoring after this project is completed.” 

“As the tallest building in Brisbane, Hutchinson is the first to tackle this hurdle of CASA-controlled airspace, and it seems certain that this method of monitoring will be the industry standard for buildings of the future.” 

“UPG was easy to deal with, met our tight time frame for deployment and provided an active crane monitoring system with results accessible to any interested party anywhere in the country.” 

“The roll out and commissioning was seamless and allowed for operations to continue on-site as planned,” he said. 

“We utilise other Trimble equipment on site for our daily set out and construction work and have never been let down with service from UPG.” 

UPG is delighted to have played a key role in conducting the monitoring work for this landmark project and in assisting Hutchinson in being the first to reach Brisbane’s building height limit.   

UPG has the solution for your project. Contact us today to find out how we can help.