Insightful Geographic Data Processing

The amount of digital geographic data generated on dredging projects can at times become quite extensive.  Furthermore, this data often requires geographic data processing before it can be interpreted and used to inform dredging projects.

Despite the importance of geographic data processing on such projects, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are often insufficiently utilised on dredging projects.  Frequently, the reason for this is that large geographic datasets are not easily digitised and processed without a pre-investment in tools.

survey and geo data

Many large geographic datasets such as the following, could be beneficial on dredging projects:

  • Bathymetric surveys
  • Dredging designs
  • Geotechnical investigations
  • Geophysical investigations
  • Satellite images
  • Performance monitoring data

To encourage the use of such datasets and aid with their digitisation and processing, in2Dredging (i2D) has developed flexible off-the-shelf tools.  These tools easily read and process any large dataset using coordinate and data transformation methods, so that several information sources can easily be combined into a single graph.  The ability of i2D’s tools to present multiple data sources in a single graph, potentially provides ground‑breaking insights on certain dredging projects, from conception to execution.  For instance, these tools can provide insights on:

  • Data quality and coverage
  • Correlations between, and confidence levels in, physical parameters
  • Soil quantity and quality, including the likely probability of certain soil conditions being present at a site
  • Operational performance
  • Habitat mapping

In addition, i2D has a large network of geotechnical, geophysical and bathymetric surveyors at its disposal who can punctually acquire and deliver high-quality datasets.

Bathymetric Surveys

Bathymetric survey data is essential for estimating and monitoring dredging works.  i2D’s hydrographic surveying solutions include:

  • Pre and post dredging bathymetric surveys and mapping
  • Volume calculations and visualisation
  • Review, interpretation and verification of survey data
  • Global Positioning System (GPS), Differential GPS (DGPS) and underwater positioning system surveys
  • Single beam and multibeam bathymetry data processing
  • Topographic and routing surveys
  • Cross and long profiles

As well as the above, i2D can also develop survey specifications and provide client representation services.  Moreover, i2D can combine bathymetric survey data with any other dataset, such as geophysical data or satellite images to simplify interpretation.

Geotechnical and Geophysical Investigations

Soil investigations are essential on dredging projects to reduce the risk of delays and cost blowouts.  Dredging professionals are unanimous in desiring that in-depth geotechnical and geophysical investigations be undertaken for dredging projects so as to be able to adequately characterise projects’ soils and to accurately determine soil volumes (https://www.pianc.org/publications/marcom/site-investigation-requirements-for-dredging-works).  It is high-quality soil data for the significant geotechnical parameters, in combination with in-depth production estimates, that makes for robust budgets and timely delivery of dredging projects.

Dredging includes the unique science of destructive soil mechanics.  This science identifies soil parameters that best describe the soil failure mechanisms that come into play when using, for example, blasting, cutting or jetting.  Often on dredging projects, expensive soil investigations are unnecessarily prescribed by geotechnical engineers who aren’t familiar with destructive soil mechanics and thus the relevant physical soil parameters that need to be considered for various dredging works. To avoid unnecessary expenses, i2D can specify the soil investigations required to effectively inform production estimates, which are key for the reduction of risk and the creation of budgets and schedules.

Both Geophysical and Geotechnical data is required on dredging projects due to the nature of these datasets.  Geophysical data has high‑resolution, but low-confidence levels.  On the other hand, geotechnical data has low‑resolution but high-confidence levels.  Thus, combining these two datasets when soil modelling, provides both increased resolution and increased confidence-levels in the soil data.  In this case, one plus one equals more than two (1 + 1 > 2).

i2D provides support on geotechnical and geophysical investigations by:

  • Planning and specifying soil investigations as part of the overarching dredging project
  • Characterising, modelling, interpreting, verifying and reviewing soil data
  • Correlating soil parameters to increase confidence-levels in existing soil data
  • Processing and visualising soil data in combination with, for example, bathymetric surveys
  • Identifying probability distributions
  • Monitoring actual and planned performance against soil models

When it comes to these investigations, i2D sees its main purpose as being that of processing soil data to provide enough confidence in dredging projects’ budgets and schedules.