LiDAR bathymetry of Ningaloo Reef

NW-Western Australia

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.


ocean image
ocean image

ARA Bathymetry
ARA Bathymetry

ARA bathymetry reef dtructure
ARA bathymetry reef dtructure

ocean image
ocean image

Riegl laser scanner for surveying and mapping


ABN: 62 629 123 879