News Archive

Super Scan!

26 September 2011

Super Scan!

New technology has always been at the forefront of the spatial industry. Terrestrial scanning is the most recent and specialised development in survey technology allowing for the observation and collection of accurate detailed 3D data quicker and more efficient than ever before.


Terrestrial scanning is ideally suited for surveys with occupational health and safety constraints, fragile or 'zero impact sites' or where conventional single point survey methodologies can be too time consuming and cumbersome. Instead, it allows for substantial simultaneous data to be collected beyond the immediate area of interest, often eliminating the need for additional site visits due to changes in the original scope of works.

The speed of data capture, reduced safety requirements, scanner range and reduced field survey requirements result in significant time and cost savings.

Terrestrial scanning provides survey methodology for a range of applications including:

Mines and quarries

Urban topography

Topographic or detail surveys

Architecture and archaeology


RPS has invested a great deal of time and effort into R&D for terrestrial scanning to ensure that our clients are able to have the best available technology and deliverables for their projects. RPS turned to laser scanning as we were encountering ever increasing complex projects and safety concerns on some of our survey jobs.

The multidisciplinary nature of RPS’ business allows us to apply our terrestrial scanning services beyond the conventional survey market. Instead, it can be applied across a number of our service lines including design and planning.

Brisbane Senior Surveyor – Terrestrial Scanning, Nick McKelvey has been involved in terrestrial scanning for the past three years. During this time, he has worked on a diverse range of projects ranging from sites as small as a set of stairs for an insurance claim to much larger projects such as providing pre-design information for the full length of the 6.5km Airport Link project in Brisbane. Late last year, Nick attended and presented at SPAR Europe 2010 - an international scanning conference on 3D imaging for design, construction, manufacturing and security planning.


Held in Amsterdam over two days, SPAR Europe provided attendees with the opportunity to connect with others involved in 3D laser scanning from all over the world, to share experiences and to expand the technological capabilities of 3D in all fields of work. The conference was well attended by approximately 450 laser scanning users including surveyors, engineers, architects, and archaeologists. During the conference, Nick presented at the FARO Europe Laser Scanner User Meeting. FARO is a leading edge company in scanning hardware and during SPAR Europe they invited their community of users to exchange knowledge and share some of their most interesting projects and experiences with each other. Nick’s presentation focused on RPS’ extensive laser scanning experience and our unique multidiscipline approach to scanning.

Closer to home, Nick and his team have been using their 3D laser scanning technology to great effect on some recent projects. They have just completed modelling the entire Queen St Mall for a lighting study for Brisbane City Council. This is a particularly unique application of the technology turning the scan data into a 3D model.

2011 has started strong with a number of interesting projects in the pipeline including archaeological preservation as well as involvement in other projects.

RPS Celebrates the Official Opening of Mizen Head Footbridge at Ireland's South Westerly Point

14 September 2011

RPS Celebrates the Official Opening of Mizen Head Footbridge at Ireland's South Westerly Point



On Friday 5th August, the Mizen Head Footbridge was officially opened by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadker T.D. The opening marked the successful completion of a very complex engineering project for RPS, our client Cork County Council and the contractor Carillion Irishenco.

Mizen Head Footbridge is located at the south westerly tip of Ireland. Spanning 50m across a dramatic sea gorge, it leads to the Mizen Head Lighthouse owned by the Commissioners of Irish Lights. The original structure was built in 1909 and was considered to be the longest reinforced concrete bridge of its type in Europe at the time.

After 100 years of service, the iconic bridge has been demolished and faithfully reconstructed to its original form. The complex project was delivered on time and within budget to the satisfaction of the funding authorities – Fáilte Ireland, Cork County Council and the Commissioners of Irish Lights. “102 years later, the Project Team has successfully delivered a new, replica reinforced concrete structure, following careful removal of the original structure”, says Kieran Ruane, Project Manager, RPS. “The successful completion of the project has preserved a landmark structure on the coast of Ireland for future generations to enjoy.”

Mizen Head is a site characterised by dramatic cliffs with steep, narrow footpaths and spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge is a twin arch structure, which supports a pedestrian bridge deck. The original reinforced concrete bridge displayed many of the defects associated with concrete structures in a marine environment.

The landmark bridge project provided significant challenges to the design and construction teams. Access to the site was extremely difficult, via a steeply inclined footway, less than 1 metre wide. The bridge was located in an environmentally sensitive marine location and was subject to severe weather due to the exposed, coastal nature of the site. The bridge had a clear span of 50m and the soffit of the deck was located 45m above a sea gorge.

“The key challenge was to design a scheme that would allow safe demolition of the existing bridge and safe construction of a new bridge, with minimal disruption to the local environment”, noted Kieran Ruane. “The bridge is a well known and loved landmark in Ireland and the project drew considerable interest from the general public during construction.”

The new bridge is a structure of identical nature and form to the original structure, though marginally wider (700mm). The innovative concept allowed for the initial construction of new structural members using the old members for support. The scheme progressed as an integrated series of demolition and construction of individual structural elements. The concept garnered significant support from heritage professionals and other interested parties, as it preserved the form of the original structure. The structure comprises an intricate framework of elements and the details of these elements were faithfully recreated from the original structure.

RPS designed additional tourism facilities during construction of the bridge. These include walkways and viewing platforms, from higher viewing levels above the bridge, to enhance the visitor experience.

Wave Technology Progresses as Site Study is Successful

06 September 2011

Wave Technology Progresses as Site Study is Successful

RPS successfully completes studies to install wave technology by major Australian wave energy developer.

CETO installation. Image courtesy of Carnegie Wave Energy.

RPS has now completed the initial studies into potential near-shore sites for commercial demonstration of Carnegie Wave Energy’s CETO wave energy unit, successfully identifying two possible sites that are viable for the unit array to be installed in and benefit the Irish ocean energy target.

The conceptual design and the site project study have been 50% funded by the energy developer, and 50% by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (under the Ocean Energy Prototype Research and Development Programme), and is managed by Carnegie’s Irish subsidiary: CETO Wave Energy Ireland.

RPS carried out a detailed site evaluation and conceptual design study examining grid connection feasibility, environmental sensitivities, wave resources, and structural issues for the installation of the innovative marine energy technology.

CETO offloading. Image courtesy of Carnegie Wave Energy.

It is the primary phase of the project for a potential 5MW commercial demonstration in Irish waters. Ireland has set a national target to produce 33% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020, including 500MW from ocean energy. The Irish Government is providing grant funding for the research, development and deployment of tidal energy in Ireland –with an established €220/megawatt hour feed-in tariff for ocean energy.

The CETO wave energy units self-tune to sea-state and wave patterns. The installation is anchored to the ocean floor, and uses seabed pumps which are driven by submerged buoys. The pumps pressurise the water to a high-level and it is transferred to shore by pipeline where it will drive hydroelectric turbines to generate power. The high-pressure water can also supply a reverse osmosis water-desalination plant –removing the requirement for the electrically driven pumps (which emit greenhouse gases) that would normally serve such plants. Only a few wave energy technologies magnify wave pressure variations to produce fresh water from seawater.

CETO unveiling. Image courtesy of Carnegie Wave Energy.

Following the very positive results of the study, the Irish Government will continue to work with Carnegie and key stakeholders to progress the implementation of the project to trial the technology in Atlantic waters.

RPS has been engaged recently to assist Carnegie Wave Energy Limited to develop the new CETO 5 unit design. Dr. Nick Wells will be spending several weeks working on this assignment with the Carnegie team in their office in Perth, Australia.


Thumbnail image is a crop of CETO unveiling. Image courtesy of Carnegie Wave Energy.