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Nobby’s Breakwall

Surveying / 3D Spatial Services

Client Information

Port of Newcastle
December 2017 – August 2019
Newcastle, NSW Australia

Topographic Survey


3D Modelling

Bathymetric survey


Monteath & Powys were approached by the Port of Newcastle to survey and monitor the rock armour surrounding the Nobbys and Stockton Breakwalls forming the entrance to Newcastle Harbour. Previously, the rock armour was monitored by visual inspection only and maintained with no recordable evidence of deformation within the rock walls.

This was a costly exercise and posed a substantial risk of failure given the magnitude of the task. In order to monitor each of the thousands of rocks along each breakwall, we needed a method of capturing the data safely, efficiently and accurately. The idea of utilising an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for this purpose came from our experience in aerial surveys combined with our 3D laser scanning capability. Monteath & Powys have operated high-precision 3D laser scanning equipment for a number of years to report on deformation of structures compared to either previous surveys or design models. We were able to combine the above-water and below-water data to create seamless Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) for comparison and deformation analysis over time.

There were significant challenges in incorporating these technologies, but the resulting process allowed Monteath & Powys to provide a superior product to the client in a safe, efficient manner. This project was entered into the 2015 Spatial Excellence awards, winning the Spatial Enablement category. This qualified the project for the 2015 Asia Pacific spatial excellence awards in Melbourne, which it also won.

The success of this technology has led to several other projects including the survey capture of Eden Breakwater and the current Balmain Wharf to Birchgrove Wharf for the Roads and Maritime Services. This project has been completed successfully in conjunction with the Port Authority NSW.