A Spectra Precision Focus 35 was recently utilized to complete a bathymetric survey of a section of the Ribble River in England. The project was launched by the Ribble Rivers Trust to increase public interest and involvement in protecting and improving the Ribble River. 

“The challenge with rivers is that much of the beauty and interest is hidden from view beneath the surface of the water.  To reveal this beauty, we undertook a bathymetric survey of a section with particularly interesting features that is adjacent to a heavily used public footpath,” says Jack Spees, CEO of the Ribble Rivers Trust.

A robotically-controlled, 1.2-meter, twin-hull shallow draft vessel, powered by a twin jet system, was used to survey approximately a hectare of the river’s bed.  Aboard the vessel was a depth recording sonar and a tracking prism that enabled a Focus 35 total station to lock onto and robotically follow and record the location of the vessel. 

Echo soundings from the sonar were transmitted back to a tablet PC ashore via long-range Bluetooth and time stamped, while the boat’s position was continuously recorded by the total station and sent back to a tablet PC also using long-range Bluetooth and time stamped.

The tablet PC ran 4Site, a program that formatted and processed the data from the sonar and the total station into a DWG drawing.   Each point was positioned in real time on the screen of the tablet to permit the operator of the vessel to see gaps in the data in real time and navigate the boat back to them to ensure complete coverage.

A mesh of the survey area, a 200-meter section of the 50-meter-wide river with depths to 3.5 meters, was created and combined with aerial LiDAR information to produce a topographic survey that was provided to the Ribble Rivers Trust for its education outreach efforts as part of its Heritage Lottery Funded “Ribble Life Together” project.

“We are using the survey to reveal these hidden depths on interpretation boards, including digitally-augmented reality and video media that will permit visitors to explore the underwater world,” Spees says.

About Spectra Precision

Spectra Precision is an established brand known for delivering products to the construction market. Focusing on the specific needs of the conventional surveying market, the Spectra Precision brand offers a complete product portfolio including GNSS, GIS, optical total stations, data collection hardware, field and office software, as well as a wide range of construction tools.