Spatial analysis technology keeps constructed wetlands and waterways healthy

Spatial analysis technology keeps constructed wetlands and waterways healthy

Vegetation health is an important indicator of how assets perform, but their scale makes it difficult to cost-effectively and quickly assess them.

Our Client

Melbourne Water


Asset value

$4.4 billion


1.83 million

The 1000+ constructed wetlands in the Melbourne Water catchment area remove contaminants from stormwater runoff, safeguarding waterways and public health. GHD developed an award-winning cost-effective, accurate and scalable method to assess wetland health.

In a pilot study in Dandenong, South-East of Melbourne, GHD developed software that automated satellite imagery analysis to assess wetland health.

Following the success of this pilot study, we used remote sensing to analyse wetland conditions at over 1000 assets.

Ecologists used high-resolution aerial imagery to classify vegetation in 4m x 4m grids. We then used remote sensing technology and the data to train an object-based image analysis (OBIA) process.

Lastly, we segmented images by grouping pixels to classify vegetation based on a mix of spectral, spatial and geometric properties.

Over $20 million saved in 5 years

The project won an Award for Spatial Enablement at the 2015 Victorian Spatial Excellence Awards.

As a result of this novel approach, Melbourne Water was able to:

— Save an estimated $20 million over 5 years in wetland management costs
Produce comprehensive, robust and reliable datasets and maps, eliminating most fieldwork

— Better prioritise works and maintenance activities due to improved understanding of wetland asset condition

— Measure asset change over time and use the results to inform better decision-making.

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