7 November 2017
A new digital application that streamlines environmental work
has earned GHD’s Digital team recognition at the Victorian Spatial
Excellence Awards in Australia.
The company won the Spatial Enablement Award
for making the process of conducting sanitary surveys of drinking
water catchments more efficient and less prone to error.
The purpose of these surveys is to identify
sources of microbial pathogens in water catchments and
systematically quantify the risk to human health.
The cost, risk and usability of this surveying
process have now been significantly improved, thanks to GHD’s
in-house application development capabilities, combined with data
collection and visualisation tools from ESRI.
“Normally, scientists, surveyors and engineers
spend a lot of time transferring data collected in the field into a
digital format, then classifying all the surveys for each
catchment, followed by calculating all intermediate and cumulative
results, and finally transferring the information into a report,”
Mina Jahanshahi, GHD’s Senior Advisor – Location Intelligence,
“Each step is not only time-consuming, it also
increases the chances of errors creeping up somewhere in the
“Our new approach enables people to focus on
the core of environmental work – drawing conclusions from the data
– instead of having to act as database managers.
“The process is easily repeatable for sanitary
survey projects across Australia. This is especially important
since sanitary surveys have to be undertaken at regular intervals
under environmental regulations.”
GHD’s new approach has been used by Melbourne
Water, SEQWater and Barwon Water.
On site, the user utilises their preferred
device to complete a ‘smart’ questionnaire that dynamically selects
and presents questions based on previous answers. The cumulative
risks are calculated and presented live depending on the responses,
and can be further refined when the scientist returns to the
The result is a clear, streamlined and
repeatable process that can be done in a consistent manner by
different people in the field. Every stakeholder can see online
where the surveys are taken, what the results are, and which
surveys are still outstanding.
All surveys are kept in a digital form,
including photo evidence and written comments, so no data is lost
in conversion. The end report can be immediately generated using a
Kumar Parakala, GHD’s Global Digital Leader,
says, “The water sector is on the cusp of digital transformation.
This is an example of what’s possible when you take an analogue and
time-consuming process into a digital environment. We can use
digital tools to streamline and automate, freeing up people to
apply their domain knowledge and develop insights.”