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ARA water surface model.webp

LiDAR bathymetry of Ningaloo Reef

NW-Western Australia

ARA bathymetry reef dtructure.webp

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.

Bathymetric vs water surface model slide

To see the interactive slider, please click on the image above.


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