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Lyceum 2021 | Together Towards Tomorrow

Over the past seven years, GHD has transformed its workflow of geological modelling and quality assurance since the adoption of Leapfrog geological modelling packages.

Moving from reviews where Leapfrog Viewer acted as the revision control to Seequent’s Central software has allowed GHD to develop detailed 3D geological models with model updates continuously documented within the software.

The adoption of Central has allowed GHD’s regional network in Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand to collaborate more easily on a daily to hourly basis, for projects locally and further afield throughout GHD’s globally connected network.



Christopher Bennett
Geology Service Line Leader, APAC GHD Australia – Brisbane


30 min

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Lyceum 2021

Video transcript

Video Transcript

(upbeat uplifting music)

<v ->Hello, my name is Christopher Bennett</v>

and I am the Geology Service Line Leader for APAC at GHD.

Thank you for joining this presentation

on how GHD enhances 3D geological modeling capability

by combining it’s globally connected network

with Seequent’s Central software.

GHD is an employee owned professional services company

in engineering, architecture, environment and construction.

GHD was established in 1928

and has grown to greater than 10,000 staff

across five continents.

We see having a globally connected network

is a cornerstone to our business

and believe this allows us to progress

our services towards the future.


having a progressive approach to digital technologies

has allowed GHD to stay at the forefront of innovation

and for our geology service line,

our digital journey increased

in collaboration across the company recently,

in the engineering geology services

through the use of Leapfrog.

GHD first began to use Leapfrog in Australia

with a couple of users in 2014,

our modeling was limited

to two to three staff who could create,

then manually upload models to our system

for review by others.

Review tracking was limited within the model

and we relied upon an internal QA system

to detail our processes.

As detailed in our 2019 conference paper,

the 3D Geological Model had become a client asset,

as much as design tool by that stage.

And, while this worked due to the relatively small team

of engineering geologists,

using and interacting with 3D models,

it was a limited team.

With the integration of civil infrastructure

into the model as part of the process,

consultation process for the client,

our systems relied heavily on viewer file creation

to maintain file version control for review.

So, what changed?

Adoption and collaboration growth.

Our geological modeling of civil infrastructure projects

has exponentially grown to the point

where we have over 30 engineering geologists modeling

on projects across the globe.

The majority of modeling is done within a hundred plus staff

in the Geology service Line in Australian APAC region,

meaning that to service projects,

GHD was uploading and downloading a large amount of data

prior to Central being adopted.


we needed a solution

and that was the adoption of Central.

During the initial uptake of the trial period with Central,

the COVID outbreak occurred in 2020.

This lead to national and state borders being closed

and placed a strain on GHD’s

need to use locally based staff for fieldwork.

These restrictions came into effect around the time

that we started a dam in Brisbane.

It mean, our Queensland team

had a number of engineering geology field task on,

while the New Zealand team were at home in lockdown,

including a staff member in Dunedin,

who had previously modeled.


we were able to allow the creation of the model

to be passed across to Dunedin to be modeled.

This is while our lead geologist

and reviewer was based in Brisbane.

Our initial modeling shown here on the screen,

revolved mainly around the modeling of the main units,

with a review process occurring in number of drafts

in the comments tracked as shown on the right of screen.

Not all changes were recorded as we began using Central,

based on us learning the software

and learning it’s abilities and potential.

We benefited on being able to provide a QA sign off

within the model at the completion

and records were taken across the GHD’s QA system

for project approval.

This phase of the project came to completion in late 2020

and model was closed down for future use.

With the next phase of the project kicking off this year,

the staff member in Dunedin was no longer available,

but a team member in Sydney was.

The lead geologist and the reviewer stayed the same.

So the transition of the model to the next phase was simple.

The Central license was provided across

to the new project team member and modeling could begin.

But more importantly,

the engineering geologist taking over the project

was able to review the previous developments

and assumptions made in the model

through the date stamps and data comments,

to understand what had been required

to build the model to the point it was at.

The next phase of the study

included onsite geological mapping,

leading to further development of the model

through the structural discs and geological detail.

The record on the version list provided constant tracking

of these developments throughout this next phase.

The next project showcases how Central further assisted GHD

through geographical separation

using a large database over a period of time.

This example of Hunter Water’s Chichester Dam

model development began in 2020

and continued through to the present day.

GHD relied on the use of central for this project

as our leading engineering geologist at GHD had moved

from Australia to live in Papa New Guinea,

and uploading and downloading model files

would lead to large time delays.

The geological model for Chichester Dam included topography,

BIM information and geotechnical investigation details.

As shown by these images of the model,

the study involved incorporation

of numerous foundation services and drawing sections,

which facilitated and the review of the geological model

against the dam structure.

These large but accurate files are critical

to proper QA review of the geology against infrastructure.

So, having them in the model in full was key.

This dam site also included

a large array of bore hole information

which GHD uses in different presentation formats

to check the distribution of geological features

and geo technical properties.

These features were assessed against the dam structure in detail

through multiple interpretation and assessments.

As the development of this geological model evolved,

the modeler based in Sydney

and the reviewer in Port Moresby were able to piece together

the information making key connections

before moving onto the next area of information.

The workflow process from Sydney to Port Moresby

was continuous and

throughout the development.

Central allowed GHD to track these updates essentially

by providing an evolution of the geological model

as it developed to a point where you can see

the overall geology structures within the dam,

sorry beneath the damn, connected.

This collaborative approach is something

that GHD sees is key towards the quality of our work

and is part of an effective geological model,

as it relates back to the principals

of developing a geological model

in accordance with ANCOLD guidelines

from Concept model at the top of the right of the flow chart

to the Analytical model in the bottom.

And it has been with Central

that we were able to track the development

through the past 12 months as the model evolved

through the phases expected with the ANCOLD guidelines,

while documenting the collaboration now possible

through a global e-connected network using Central.

I hope you enjoyed the presentation

and thank you for joining me at Lyceum.

(upbeat uplifting music)