Airborne Research Australia (ARA) was established in 1996 with funding from the Commonwealth Government's Major National Research Facilities Programme and Flinders University as a 100% self-funding research institute within the University.
In January 2016 - through substantial and on-going donations from the Hackett Foundation - ARA became an independent Commonwealth Approved Research Institute in the form of a Not-For-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee (ARSA Ltd) trading under the name ARA.
The core activity of ARA is the use of airborne platforms (special mission aircraft) for a wide range applications and projects, mainly in the Environmental Research & Development area. Most of these projects are based on collaborations with colleagues and institutions within Australia and internationally.
ARA currently operate a variety of RIEGL LiDAR sensors and have developed an array of software workflows to refine data acquired to final deliverables;
Full waveform scanning LiDAR RIEGL Q-560
(up to 240kHz pulse rate, operating at 1550nm)
Full waveform scanning LiDAR RIEGL Q-680i-S
(up to 400kHz pulse rate, operating at 1064nm)
Bathymetric scanning LiDAR RIEGL VQ-820G
(operating at 532nm which enables penetration through water)
Mapping Ningaloo Reef from above
This project formed part of a collaborative study over Ningaloo Reed in NW Western Australia with Ryan Lowe and Jeff Hansen of University of Western Australia. The ARA used their topographic Lidar (a Riegl Q680i-S) to map the water surface, giving an image of the waves crashing into the reef edge, while the bathymetric Lidar (a Riegl VQ820G) was used to provide a very detailed image of the reef structure below.