How Geoscape enabled GHD

GHD is a global leader in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services. Through services such as noise modelling, GHD helps public and private sector clients fulfil their social and environmental responsibilities and comply with health, safety and environmental regulations.

Noise models help assess the impact of noise on people and the environment. They’re important in gaining construction project development approvals.

For the proposed Port Kembla Gas Terminal in New South Wales, GHD developed noise models to identify areas that would be affected by the construction of a floating storage and regasification unit for Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) – the first development of its kind in Australia.

7,000 buildings to manually map

The area GHD needed to model was large and complex.

“We had over 7,000 buildings in the area and to try to draw all of these manually would have taken a long, long time,” said Pri Pandey, senior engineer in acoustics and vibration modelling at GHD.

For previous projects, GHD manually created each building footprint or acquired the data from an external organisation. They verified the data was satisfactory for their needs and liaised with the GIS specialists at GHD to extract address, land use and other details.

GHD trialled a variety of solutions to help automate the generation of building footprints and other details required for noise modelling.

“Our research included different footprint generation algorithms,” Pandey said. “We even looked at different image processing algorithms and extracting data from Google Maps. But we found there were issues with whatever approach we used – they were never satisfactory.”

Automation and quality – GHD discovers Geoscape

This complex process was simplified into one step using Geoscape.

“The data is ready to go, which is great for us,” Pandey said.

“We don’t need to do any manual adjustments. Historically, we had to manually assign heights and conduct spatial filtering or other processing to ensure the data was up to the standard needed for the modelling.

“But now we have it all in one package – heights, addresses, zones and categories are all part of the one shapefile, which we insert directly into the model.”

Importantly, the data from Geoscape was of a quality that enabled confidence in the outputs.

Cost of producing a noise model cut by 50 per cent

For the Port Kembla Gas Terminal study for AIE, Pandey estimates using Geoscape cut the cost of producing a noise model by at least 50 per cent.

“It’s enabled us to streamline the modelling process and provide a cost-efficient outcome – not just in terms of the noise modelling, but also for the client by improving our impact assessments,” he said.

AIE was pleased the noise impact of their project was assessed using the latest proven technologies and techniques.

“We are proposing to bring a new technology to Australia for our operations, so we were delighted to be able to also use a leading-edge approach when completing our noise modelling and mapping,” said Kylie Hargreaves, Government and Stakeholder Relations, AIE.

Future plans

Pandey expects Geoscape to be used in future GHD noise modelling projects, especially in dense urban settings where thousands of buildings may need to be analysed.

Words of advice

“If you manually draw building data, you may get a different number of vertices on a building. But for noise modelling, it’s important to have buildings that are sharp looking, with as few vertices as possible. We got this from Geoscape.”
Pri Pandey, senior engineer in acoustics and vibration modelling, GHD

Noise model for Port Kembla Gas Terminal

Noise model for Port Kembla Gas Terminal