3D photogrammetry to identify stress hot spots

Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs. Often, these are aerial photographs which are used together with computers to make measurements. These two-dimensional (2D) photos can even be used to determine measurements in three-dimensions (3D).

Floating pokymer covers at the Western Treatment Plant

A 3D image generated from this process can then be sent to a 3D printer, and the 3D printouts of proposed or new works can be used as models when sharing these ideas with stakeholders and the community. It is also possible for these 3D printouts to be multi-coloured.

With this process in mind, we wanted to know if the 2D aerial photographs of the floating polymer covers at the Western Treatment Plant could be used to generate a 3D shape for identifying distress ‘hot spots’ in the covers.

The 450m-long floating covers collect biogas from the digestion of wastewater. This biogas is then used to produce renewable electricity, providing almost 100 percent of the energy requirements of the entire treatment plant.

Melbourne Water has been working with Monash University on this 3D photogrammetry and printing process to develop a safer inspection method for its field personnel who currently need to walk over the covers to assess them. The results show that 3D photogrammetry and 3D printing offer an alternative assessment technique for the maintenance of the floating covers. This information helps Melbourne Water to more accurately schedule maintenance, ensuring that the covers operate safely for the longest possible period.

Last updated:
19 April 2021