Mapping the future: 3D modelling to assist in sanctuary’s post-flood rebuild


A comprehensive geospatial mapping project has commenced at Australian Wildlife Conservancy‘s Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary (Bunuba and Kija country) in central Kimberley, to assist in the site’s post-flooding restoration. The newly launched J2 Geospatial Intelligence Service (J2 GIS), a social enterprise of the veteran-led non-for-profit Disaster Relief Australia, has signed on to conduct the topographical analysis of last year’s unexpected weather event.

A team of J2 GIS’ geospatial technicians made their first visit to Mornington last month, with an advanced fleet of aerial drones and ground-based sensors. Although having launched late 2023, J2 GIS builds on the strength and experience of Disaster Relief Australia’s Aerial Damage and Assessment Team and leverages the skills and expertise developed through years of providing disaster intelligence, adapting these for commercial applications across a broad range of industries. The mapping project at Mornington is the enterprise’s first official field project.

Markus Bucy, Executive General Manager of J2 GIS and Co-founder of DRA, said the cutting-edge technology will deliver highly accurate maps, data and 3D models that will help inform AWC’s reconstruction plans. The information gained through the surveys not only builds a picture of how the past flooding events occurred, but it allows for informed decisions in restoring activities and infrastructure at the site.

“We are proud to partner with AWC on this project, and the completed modelling generated by the photogrammetry and LiDAR surveys of the flood impact area will help the rebuild process ensure more resilient facilities,” said Markus. “The partnership demonstrates the value and benefit of engaging with social enterprises like ours – every dollar earned from this project helps put DRA volunteers on the ground when they are needed in the future.”

Mornington’s operation base was among the many sites across central Kimberley to be impacted by flooding in January 2023, caused by heavy rainfall from ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie. The largest recorded flood event forced staff and visiting researchers to evacuate by helicopter, as personal belongings, work equipment and infrastructure, and years of herbarium specimens were severely damaged or washed away.

Since the extreme weather event, AWC has restored power, water and ablutions services to operations facilities, re-established road access and restored some of the buildings to varying stages of service for storage, office space and temporary accommodation. Late last year, Mornington’s recovery made significant headway thanks to volunteers from Disaster Relief Australia who helped clear 18 tonnes of debris during a large, week-long clean-up.

“We’re thrilled to extend our relationship with Disaster Relief Australia by leveraging on the skills and expertise of the team at J2 Geospatial Intelligence Service,” said Chloe Kobel, AWC Assistant Operations Manager in the Kimberley. “J2 GIS’ geospatial mapping and modelling will inform our recovery efforts and strengthen Mornington’s.”

Over the next few weeks, J2 GIS will process the data collected at Mornington off-site to produce aerial mapping, digital elevation, and 3D models.

For more information on J2 GIS, click here or for more information on AWC’s work at Mornington, click here.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) is a global leader in conservation, providing hope to Australia’s wildlife with a science-informed, land management partnership model that delivers high impact results. AWC is a national leader in landscape scale conservation land management, reintroductions of threatened species and the establishment of feral predator-free areas.
J2 Geospatial Intelligence Service (J2 GIS) is a social enterprise of veteran-led, non-profit Disaster Relief Australia (DRA). J2 GIS leverages the skills and expertise developed by DRA through years of providing disaster intelligence, adapting these for commercial applications across a broad range of industries. All profits generated by J2 GIS are contributed back to the non-profit arm.


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