Aerial survey to map floodplains across the Murray-Darling Basin


Satellite image showing areas of high and low elevation near Lower Darling area near Menindee Lakes, NSW.

Lidar image of the Lower Darling
area near Menindee Lakes, NSW.

A major aerial survey is currently taking place across the Murray-Darling Basin, capturing three-dimensional data which will accurately model water flows and enable greater understanding of floodplain inundation.

Covering 68 500 square kilometres from St George to Wentworth and east to Moree, the Project will be using low flying planes to capture imagery that will be turned into high resolution elevation data.

"Once captured, the data will be used by a number of different organisations to create a diverse range of public good outcomes," said Project Manager Maree Wilson.

"We will use the elevation data to develop a more accurate representation of the landscape, increasing our understanding of flood behaviour across the Basin," she said.

In conjunction with the aerial survey, an on-ground survey is also required to accurately measure ground height at reference points across the area. As these points may be located on private property, some landowners may be contacted by surveyors seeking access to set up temporary equipment.

"We really appreciate the cooperation of local landholders in granting us access to conduct these measurements, as they form a critical part of the accuracy assessment of the data", said Maree.

The New South Wales and Queensland State Governments will be conducting a separate ground survey in the coming months which may again require land access. This independent survey will not only contribute to the overall accuracy of this Project but will contribute to the state-wide precise positioning network.

The results of this innovative project are expected by July 2014 with the information to be made publicly available.

"The information will be useful to local councils, engineers, Catchment Management Authorities and researchers with an interest in land and water management," said Maree.

The project is led by Geoscience Australia and jointly funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.