So, it’s September 2017, and Raife and I are at Contamination Expo at London’s ExCel Centre. Keen to get the most from our attendance, we are doing regular sorties from the T&P Regen stand when we bump into Holger Kessler, Team Leader – Modelling Systems at the British Geological Survey.
The British Geological Survey, or BGS, is the UK’s leading provider of authoritative geoscientifc data. Founded in 1837, it remains a progressive, forward-thinking body open to new ideas and technologies.
Anyway, we get chatting to Holger who we have met previously, and as before our conversation naturally drifts to how we are using the latest data visualisation technologies to produce integrated 3d subsurface and topographical models to report the findings of site investigations.
Then, a light bulb moment when Holger suggests: ‘But what if BGS data could be used to enhance your 3d models so they go beyond a site’s boundary and describe the broader geological context in which a site sits?’.
Smiles all round, and, since September, we’ve been working with the BGS to realise the idea.
As always though, the devil has been in the detail.
The potential of BGS data is beyond question – just visit the OpenGeoscience section of the BGS’s website or check out their new 3D Geology of Britain viewerif you haven’t done so yet. However, there have been plenty of challenges including working out how to deal with the inevitable multiple data formats and software applications to produce the seamlessly integrated models that we’re after.
Finally though, I think we have now found a way of successfully knitting things together in a way that works for all and a live real-worldcase study is in progress.
This is tremendously exciting as there are obvious advantages to fuller, more rounded, 3D models that combine our fresh, detailed site-specific data with data from BGS’s broader regional geological databases.
On a general level these include an improved and more robust understanding by all relevant parties of the often complex issues, particularly by those within design teams which should lead to better decision making and more cost-effective design practices.
Other more specific advantages include:
- the visual representation of contaminant transport / pathway modelling beyond site boundaries in human health and environmental risk assessments.
- imagery around which to discuss technical assessments with regulators, project teams and other stakeholders.
- An opportunity to feedback site specific information into the national database for the whole of industry to benefit, as per the Danish approach, in a format which is easily interrogatable.
From little things big things grow…
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