Drones make assessing geologically hazardous sites safer and less costly

Using drones and proprietary 3D modelling software to accurately and safely assess and rank rockfall hazards for restoration.

Technology can improve the safety of workers in hazardous locations.

Our Client

Water utility


Asset value

$2+ billion


300,000+ people

A rockfall damaged fencing along a river bank near access gates to one of 5 dams servicing the water utility’s catchment area, potentially compromising the dam’s integrity. Investigating the site using traditional methods would be time-consuming, costly, would provide inconsistent data and would be hazardous.So, a novel approach was needed to conduct a geotechnical investigation of the damaged area.

Drones captured data where possible and ropes were used in areas the drones could not access. GHD used our proprietary software, Photovis, to process the photographic data, drone records and rope inspection data.

Photovis enabled us to cross-reference the data and develop a 3D model of the abutment slopes. We then superimposed the 3D model to review the model grid by grid to identify hazard features and rank each hazard by criticality.

Controlling drone

As a result of this approach, our clients were able to:

— Reduce the need for rope inspections, improving personnel safety

— Reduce the time from weeks to just a few days, which also created significant cost savinga

— Gather more accurate data which improved communication, and historical data of the asset

Find out more or get a customized solution from GHD today.