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"Get the topography right and you will have the best chance of a good river model" Grantley Smith, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Austrailia.These were the words that Grantley Smith spoke at the 2012 DHI UK User Group Meeting on 20th March. In the seminar, Grantley demonstrated that flood outlines and flows from river models can vary dramtically depending on the quality and density of survey data - especially around buildings. Storm Geomatics MD Mike Hopkins attended the event and was impressed with all the presentations and the organisation of the day.

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TSA Client Guide

On February 23rd, the TSA published a Client Guide for people wishing to procure surveys of watercourses. The guide has been put together by Storm Geomatics Managing Director - Mike Hopkins and has had input from other people within the hydraulic engineering industry. The guide is written for the full range of professionals or private individuals who may need to procure a watercourse survey from the least experienced property owner to the seasoned hydraulic engineer. River channel design, channel re-profiling, control structures and flood risk assessments are just some of the projects that would need a watercourse survey before work can commence.

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A New Year

We certainly haven't seen the snow that we had last winter but it has been pretty cold with some fresh winds for January. Our teams have wrapped up warm and completed a number of projects all over the UK keeping our clients on track with their schedules and budgets. Our weekly progress reporting system is a major benefit to our customers as they can plan for data to arrive with them at the specified time and consequently plan to execute their phase of the project efficiently. Only very occasionally has the weather disrupted our teams as we have the experience, equipment and PPE to deal with difficult weather conditions. 

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Shorter Days

As the days of December move towards the shortest day of the year, our survey teams have to plan their work meticulously to optimize their productivity in the field. Storm Geomatics were awarded a project to survey over four hundred property threshold levels in Cambridgeshire - provided it was done within a very tight timescale. Storm Geomatics have an in-house software system that captures property threshold data quickly and efficiently and minimises data transposition errors. The survey was completed on time and within budget - but not without the use of darkness to capture static GPS observations.

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One of our survey teams needed to capture some spot levels in a small pasture field in the middle of the village of Kelmscott in Oxfordshire. Occupying the field was the village bull "Prince" and his two girlfriends. Now; most of our surveyors are familiar with being around and handling farm animals - but this fella looked like trouble! To minimise the risk of entertaining the villagers to a bull fight in the pasture arena, the bull's owner kindly agreed to accompany the surveyor's during the survey.

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Managing Director Mike Hopkins attended the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) Stakeholder Forum at the DEFRA headquarters in Smith Square, London. Mike found the meeting interesting with a good variety of speakers who came across well in presenting the challenges that lie ahead in achieving the FCERM strategy goals. Mike realises that surveyors can play an important part in reaching the FCERM goals and has communicated that to DEFRA through a consultation paper which the Environment Agency have used to help form the FCERM strategy.

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Apart from strong tidal currents, weirs have to be one of the most dangerous places on a river, however they play a significant role in the control of flow and water levels. For this reason it is important that they are correctly represented in a computer model when predicting flood situations. Our surveyors have just carried out a batch of weir surveys on the River Wey and have provided the model data to the client in a format that has allowed the user to quickly incorporate the weirs into an existing model and start producing model outputs straight away.

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Lots of gauging stations surveyed this month for the Environment Agency Thames Region. Full 3D models of each site were surveyed in northern areas of the region. Surveyors have provided the client with full topographical data within the ownership of each site to produce a plan that can be used for either engineering purposes or asset management. Critical levels of the sites were also recorded to ensure that data collected on the instrumentation within the hut is reliable for flood warnings and flow control.

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Measurements in tough conditions especially in and around water are the challenges that the surveyors of Storm Geomatics thrive on. Our surveyors were invited back to the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace this year to accurately measure the World Spey Casting Championships. Competitors from all over the world come to the Game Fair to compete for the world crown of Spey casting. There are big cash prizes and sponsorship deals up for grabs to those successful enough to be placed in the top three. 

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Chigwell Brook

Storm Geomatics Surveyors have been out surveying Chigwell Brook this month. They have completed approximately fifty cross sections along a mixed urban/rural watercourse. This project was very challenging as access to some of the key structures was difficult. The survey team battled on and got the project completed in good time. Vegetation at this time of year also poses a threat to survey deadlines as surveyors take time to cut back foliage in order to expose the points of detail that the clients require.

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