Hydrographic surveys are used for the production of nautical charts and in support of oil and gas exploration and production, as well as EEZ baseline delimitation, oceanography, fisheries management and marine resource management. The use of airborne laser bathymetry in hydrographic surveys has led to a significant increase in terms of speed, depth, accuracy and flexibility. Airborne laser bathymetry has proven to be a cost-effective survey technique for complex coastal waters and can survey at up to 10-20 times the rate of conventional surface vessels at less than 30% of the overall cost.
GVH Aerospace was presented with the challenge of modifying a Bombardier DHC-8-202 aircraft with a Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS). The LADS system incorporated improved laser, computer and navigation technology to collect higher density data at deeper depths and at higher productivity. GVH Aerospace designed the sensor cut-out in the fuselage, mission equipment racks and operator consoles. The air conditioning system was also upgraded to manage the higher heat load, and GVH Aerospace manufactured the installation mounting hardware for the equipment. This aircraft has been in operational service since 2009, leading to:
- Increased productivity in hydrographic survey
- Improved survey accuracy
GVH Aerospace has since installed the smaller LADS III systems on the Cessna 441 and Cessna 208 and both aircraft are in operational service in Australia and internationally.
© Photograph copyrighted to Andrew Walker, used with permission.