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Birdland in the lovely Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire was within the scope to survey the River Windrush that flows through the town. It made for a few interesting days as the survey team worked through the famous attraction - birds were seen on the Windrush that have never been seen before on our British watercourses! The river provides an ideal habitat for some of the wading birds and river birds within Birdland. This project was also the first project that our new trainee surveyor Steve Drew experienced. It doesn't get much better than that Steve! Welcome aboard!

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Some nasty floods around the River Calder in West Yorkshire this month gave rise to our surveyors getting on their bikes and doing some investigation into how the flooding occurred. The upper reaches of the river run through a steep valley alongside a canal, and in this event the canal overtopped into the Calder in places causing the river to flood. Our surveyors equipped with Network RTK GPS used the tow path of the canal to move along the valley on bicycles to identify low spots between the canal and river. The data will be used within the hydraulic model of the catchment to improve the integrity of the model results. The name Calder is thought to originate from the early British meaning violent waters or stream - our surveyors could see how it got its name from the damage they witnessed while carrying out the work.

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Our surveyors undertook five more scour assessment surveys for London Underground this month - one of which was classed as a confined space. These assessments create a score for the structure over the watercourse and indicate to the client whether or not there is a danger of the foundations of the structure being weakened by the power of the water rushing against it. Our team use an industry recognised procedure to calculate the score for the bridge and provide scale drawings, calculations and photographs to present their findings. They look at all the relevant detail needed to compile the report, right down to the size of the gravel on the bed around the structure.

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Watercourses

If you have ever procured survey services for watercourses before you will realise that in order to get what you need you will have to go to a company with experience in this field. Our survey teams have just completed a small but complex survey of a network of brooks in Derby. Our client knew this job would be a tough one to model so he took the safe option and used Storm Geomatics to complete the task.

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Luton Hoo Lakes

Well we haven't got any tips for the horses this month, but we have got a new tip for our pole! The metal plate on the base of the pole is designed to sit on top of soft silt so our survey teams can get a more accurate level for silt volume calculations. We used this recently at Luton Hoo Lakes to provide a digital terrain model of the lake bed so engineers can calculate the volume of silt lying on the bed. The tip works really well and we will be using it on our next lake survey which is at Ifield near Crawley.

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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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