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Network Rail Bathymetry survey River Calder

Whalley Viaduct Following on from the initial successful 3D terrestrial scans of Whalley Viaduct. Network Rail requested an additional Bathymetry survey of the river bed, to investigate any potential issues. The Whalley arches are important components of this busy railway route built between 1846 and 1850. One feature of the viaduct is that it not only traverses land for much of its length, but also crosses the river Calder. Bathymetry To ensure the viaducts integrity in the river Calder section,  a bathymetry survey was undertaken. A 100m section of the river was mapped using a HyDrone RCV remote control survey  platform. The HyDrone RCV was connected to a GNSS receiver. Adding the GNSS receiver, enables points on the river bed to be accurately geo-located. Using the data from the GNSS assists with the building a 3D model of the river. In addition, the receiver was linked with a LIDAR survey of the riverbanks to enable the accurate profile build of the river under the viaduct.  Monitoring erosion and scour Monitoring the riverbed around the structures is a critical undertaking. The principal mode of viaduct base failure is typically focused on the area where flooding and scour occurs. Flooding, climate change and increase of rainfall significantly change river hydraulics and, in some cases, it can cause serious problems to the base of structures. This survey concentrated on riverbed scour, identified using our high-resolution sonar bathymetric remote-control boat. Data Collection Using our bathymetric underwater surveying technology gives our engineers the ability to inspect water retention and riverbed features using specialist software back at our base. The data we collected from the watercourse characterises the river both above and below the waterline at the River Calder location. Additionally, we visualised the impact of objects affecting river flow and evaluated the changes in the river caused by sediment dynamics. The comprehensive bathymetric data captured the above features with a precise resolution and detail. Consequently, the inspection and assessment of the viaduct features and improved sonar detail increased the evaluation of the watercourse. Thus, ensuring safety of the structure by identifying any areas of concern. The models provided will be used to assess future maintenance requirements and to ascertain any immediate works required. 

Surveying a Water Pipe

It was with some trepidation that Commendium accepted the challenge of surveying an 800m long 0.9m wide water pipe in North London. Being underground, without the aid provided by GNSS and capturing surrounding furniture, surveying a metal pipe must pose the most challenging subjects for LiDAR as there are few clues in the data to assist with the registering and alignment of scans. We set about this by mounting a VZ-400 into a crawler provided by the Water Services Group and set up a process to take scans at every 3m through the tunnel. We supplemented the displacement measurement by using an IMU to measure orientation and displacement between scans as precisely as possible. Scans were taken manually by connecting the scanner to the scanner via a fibre optical link, which via ethernet switching also allowed us to capture photographs and video at the same time. Back on the office, the scans were realigned using data from the IMU and then brought into RiScan Pro for manual, fine stitching using the MTA tools. It was vital to prevent roll and pick tie points from small imperfections in the pipe revealed by the scanners. There was no way around this slow manual process, but the results were excellent, a tribute to the quality of the core Riegl LiDAR technology. We ‘closed the survey loop’ by surveying over the surface to the other end of the pipe, this time enabling auto-registration as GNSS and plenty of street ‘furniture’ was available to stitch scans. In the end the loop closure was just under two metres over 1.8km; that will do nicely. The survey was able to show in detail four additional anomalies that were unknown to the client engineers. Had these not been identified, it could have rendered planned maintenance ineffective. It did mean that additional access had to be dug to address issues, but this remains hugely less expensive and time-consuming than the alternative.

Surveying A Sewage Outflow

Surveying a confined space is always a challenge. Whilst LiDAR will almost always be the preferred method for gathering data, the size of the space, its regularity and what the space contains are all issues that effect the choice of approach. So, when Commendium were asked to survey a sewage outflow near Fort William, we decided to arm ourselves with a variety of approaches. The aim was to measure the drop in a treated sewage outflow pipe to ensure that planned improvements would maintain or improve the gravity-based flow of treated sewage all the way to the sea. This was being performed alongside visual inspection of the pipes with ROVs equipped with sonar and video. After visual inspection, we established a GNSS fixed ground control network of survey stations between the two access portals and the high tide level on the beach. We LiDAR surveyed between these and the two outflow pipes to the sea, so as to gain a highly accurate, geolocated surface model. To survey the levels in the pipes we lowered a REB-Horizon portable LiDAR unit into the access portals, This negated the need and accompanying risk, of having to enter the portals ourselves; definitely a bonus. The base of the portals where still covered in about 0.8m of water, despite being pumped clean. So, to measure the base level we placed a precision GNSS unit on top of an 8m pole so as to gain an accurate GNSS fix of the base level. The results showed a healthy gradient for the pipe all the way to the sea and provided engineering drawings on which to base further plans.    

Drain the Oceans: Thai Cave Rescue – A Nat Geo documentary

As a result of our numerous cave scanning assignments, Commendium were contacted by MSP TV to assist them with an episode of the ‘Drain the Oceans’, a series on behalf of Nat Geo TV. Having worked for The National Geographic on several occasions, it was great to be back working on Drain the Oceans: Thai Cave Rescue.  Our brief was to 3D survey a 6km stretch of the Tham Luang cave passages in Thailand, using LiDAR terrestrial scanners. The data from the scans would be processed to make a photorealistic CGI 3D model of the cave journey. The 3D model itself illustrates part of the Thailand Cave Rescue story deep in the Chiang Rai province. Prior to setting off we were looking at a hand-drawn cave survey of the Tham Luang cave system, completed by its first explorers. Looking at the illustration it was immediately clear that this was going to be one of our more demanding projects, 6km of often narrow, invariably humid and muddy cave passages. We estimated it would take three weeks, to scan the caves and a complete surface survey of the area. The Challenge The cave system proved to be every bit as challenging as we had imagined. In the dry sections, the cave was very easy to navigate for experienced cavers, however, then came the slippery section with lots of clambering over large boulders. With each of us carrying about 20kg, the humidity was draining for the crew. We opted to scan from the furthest point inside the cave and work our way through to the entrance. This was mainly for psychological reasons, for every subsequent surveying day required less travel to the start and so became easier, though most days underground were more than ten hours. One job was to record the cave texture through photography. It is amusing to put one of the world’s leading caving photographers to such repetitive work, but the discipline to ensure that everything is recorded meticulously is probably the single hardest aspect of 3D data capture. We tried to work to three days and then rest on the fourth, however, in practise, our rest days and evenings were spent processing the vast amounts of scanned data. Our drone operator meanwhile was travelling above ground capturing the surface terrain data. Capturing Data By the end of the project we had gathered almost a terabyte of data, which takes some managing,…

Mine works in Northern England – Industrial heritage becomes geotourism

Commendium is often requested to assist with mine works filming and conservation projects but rarely both at the same time. We were invited by veteran Geologist Andy Freem and his wife Antonia, to scan elements of the Nenthead Mines, located near Alston in Cumbria. The project was to provide complementary 3D and drone footage and data to be included in Andy’s latest film production.The film opens with aerial video captured by our professional drone operator. It shows the whole mine workings above ground. This video was processed into a 3D model using Pix4D software. Underground, using 3D laser (LiDAR) we scanned two sections of the Smallcleugh Mine, which is part of the overall Nenthead mine complex. Smallcleugh is in the centre of a 50+km complex of mine levels and underground workings, and it contains evidence of the lives and techniques of the lead miners working there for over 200 years.The first scanning target was a ‘Whimsey Chamber’, where horses were brought underground to walk around in circles, providing power to lift and lower items in the adjacent shaft. It is quite remarkable how much of lift feature remains. The 3D models illustrate the mine in fine detail and inform the viewer as to its construction in ways that pure video cannot.The second 3D scan illustrates the ‘flats. Flats are areas where miners hacked and blasted out lead ore from valuable veins. It illustrates the incredible handwork, and stonework used to create arches and build stacks, to support the mine roof.Nenthead Mine Works FilmThe Nenthead Mine video may be viewed on YouTube and offers a rich and fascinating illustration of the mine. The whole area around Nenthead still has many former mine works and invokes a timeless picture of life in Victorian England. Whilst this mine is easily and freely visited, if you are not experienced in the underground activities we recommend hiring a guide or taking a guided tour.Should you like further information on this project, please contact us on 0330 119 0000 or contact us via the website

Gilmerton Cove Tunnel Survey- 300m of secret cavern discovered underneath terraced house

There are many hidden gems throughout the UK. Possibly one of the strangest is Gilmerton Cove in Edinburgh. No-one really knows how or why these strange tunnels were chipped out of the rock below Edinburgh’s busy streets, but there are many amusing stories to add to the mystery.Gilmerton Cove commissioned Commendium to visit the tunnels and create a full-colour digital model of the workings for their records, for heritage, conservation and architectural reasons. This included visual representations to enable people, for whom a trip down a deep cold mine would not be attractive, to appreciate the work of the Victorian miners as well as models suitable for architectural and historical studies. Glimerton Cove LiDAR Survey In a single trip, Commendium staff laser scanned the tunnels workings with state of the art LIDAR laser scanning equipment and took over 1000 photographs, from which a highly detailed, colour digital model was built.Commendium constructed a detailed digital 3D model of Gilmerton Cove and confirmed that at present the tunnels do not extend under the road, though it is clear they have in the past. The hight between the road surface and the tunnels was confirmed to be less than 0.5m, thus informing the cove of the need to consult with structural engineers to ensure safety. The format of the model was made so that it is available to Computer CGI applications, architectural packages and historical documentation.   Why Commendium? We provide high quality, accurate LiDAR scanning services to help a wide range of industries visualise physical data. This data can be output in many different ways, from CAD drawings, to meshed models. Gilmerton Cove was a great example of what we can do, but we have plenty of other examples to show you.   Get in touch to find out what we do and how we can help Get in touch

Whitehaven Harbour Project – 3D assessment of coastal area for redevelopment

Whitehaven, is a bustling town in West Cumbria, overlooking the Irish sea. Like many ‘seaside’ destinations in the UK, Whitehaven has seen a drop in popularity with the influx of cheap flight holiday packages. However, with a rejuvenated sea-front, and an expansion of industrial business in the area, is resulting in a revitalised town full of life and fun. Commendium was asked to LiDAR scan the 'old Whitehaven seafront'. This involves scanning the area to collect all the geographic details and building information. Having scanned the front,  we were asked to produce a 3D model in a format which would be familiar to architects. Commendium constructed a detailed digital 3D model based on the point cloud data from the LiDAR scan. The data was gathered via 60 separate scanning stations strategically plotted around the seafront area. All the expected challenges surfaced during the scanning, lots of wind, rain, water spray, curious bystanders, seagulls, and car movements. However, despite the wild weather, we created a perfect point cloud and from this data, the architect’s model was built using SketchUp software. Building the model in SketchUp aided the architects, who are already familiar with SketchUp software.  We followed this up by building a model in Revit which was then used for architectural processes and procedures. This was highly accurate and saved time and money. They were able to view the model and used the information to assess and guide their decisions. A planning proposal for the area has subsequently been submitted and considered by the authorities. We offer a number of services that can cut costs and save time for architects, including highly accurate LiDAR scanning, photogrammetric modelling of large areas, data processing and more. Contact us using the form below to find out how we can help you. For a limited time, we are able to visit you on site to demonstrate our services in detail. Also available on 0330 119 0000 during office hours. Your Name (required) Your Email (required) Your Phone Number Subject Your Message

Sir Francis Level Mine Works – Capturing the past and discovering something unexpected

Yorkshire here we go again, off to Swaledale to scan a fascinating disused lead mine called Sir Frances level. The NYDNP commissioned Commendium to visit St Francis Level to create a full colour digital model of the mine workings for their heritage records. This included visual representations, to enable people, for whom a trip down a deep cold mine would not be attractive, to appreciate the work of the Victorian miners. In addition, the created models are suitable for architectural and historic studies. Over a series of 5 trips to the mine, Commendium staff laser scanned the mine workings with state-of-the-art LiDAR laser scanning equipment and took over 5000 photographs, from which a highly detailed, 3D colour digital model was built. There’s lead in those hills Scattered throughout the North of England are hundreds of abandoned mine workings, leftovers from the Victorian Period, when the Industrial Revolution, transformed Britain into a modern technology driven country that needed raw materials from anywhere they could be found to satisfy the demand. The deliverable outputs The following products were delivered to the client: Commendium constructed a detailed digital 3D model of the workings in St Francis Level.  From this model a short film was made which can be viewed on YouTube and is currently being shown at the Dales Museum in Hawes. The models have been archived and have been used for Historical Studies. In addition, they have been called upon to drive an application for further funds to preserve these precious items.  The format of the model was developed to be viewed over Computer CGI applications, architectural packages, and historical documentation. Nice clip on BBC Most recently Commendium has been asked to contribute to a BBC film featuring St Francis Level mine. Paul Rose interviews Richard, with our graphics and 3D models featuring in the clip. See Richard with ‘Paul Rose on the Yorkshire Dales’ here [About 10 minutes in] Lead, silver, coal and more besides was extracted from these small private mines working throughout the local hills, which employed thousands. The relics of this period may still be found. Some mines, when you are armed with appropriate skills and equipment to enter, reveal a wealth of industrial heritage. Water powered Lift The St Francis Level contains a unique water powered lift, which was used to raise and lower miners to various levels. The lift is one example of industrial heritage at…

St Patrick’s Chapel – Ground plane photogrammetry 3D capture of an 8th century chapel

These ruins lie in the unlikely setting on the coast of Lancashire overlooking the Morecambe Bay. Quite the most beautiful spot despite proximity to the decommissioning nuclear power station at Heysham point. Commendium was commissioned to build a 3D model of The Chapel for heritage and conservational purposes, as a record so that its condition could be reviewed over the years. A series of approximately 300 photos was taken around the site and places in to Agisoft Photogrammetric software from where the model was built The model provides a reference – a point in time as to the state of the buildings from where its condition will be reassessed in due time.

The Worlds Largest Cave – How 3D accidentally broke a world record, assisting National Geographic

Commendium recently scanned the worlds largest cave to help understand these underworlds better. Caves contain unique geological and meteorological records. Increasingly, the sediments they hold and the strata from which they are formed are being using to study and understand the Earth in ever more detail. They hold particularly valuable insights as they have been undisturbed erosion, be that due to human activity or natural meteorological processes. However, caves are dark, and so those parts that are beyond reach of the lights that speleologists can carry, have not been studied. Until now.Commendium has been part of a worldwide project to LIDAR scan the great natural chambers of the world in order to create a data set for further study. To date fifteen have been completed. We visited and documents caves in The USA, Mexico, Belize, China, Oman, Malaysia, France and Spain. It involved full scale speleological expeditions to enter and explore these places. Largest Caves in the World Commendium constructed a detailed digital 3D model of the all the caves in a variety of formats. The data sets are being used to date events in the cave development and also to date deposits that are being used to reveal climate change records over the last million years. This is corroborated with data from other sources, such as Ice Caps Cores, to improve the worldwide understanding of climate change. Cave records will allow climate change studies to reach back almost ten times further than any other source. National Geographic funded one element of this project, from which Commendium helped to build an array of 3D interpretations to help their readers understand these wonderful places. A film of the worlds largest cave was made by Commendium and can be viewed on Youtube. What we can do Commendium are specialist in scanning subterranean worlds. We go to places no-one else dares to gather the data needed for a variety of diffeent projects. Let us know what you are thinking and we can have an informalt discussion on your plans? 0330 119 0000 Get in touch