Aerial Survey of Nicaragua Canal Route Kicks Off

Australia’s geological, resource and management consulting company CSA Global on Monday deployed two specialized aircraft to start the aerial survey along the proposed route of the USD 50 billion Nicaragua Grand Canal, according to the project’s main contractor HKND Group.

The survey will cover the 276-kilometer canal corridor connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific and a 2km-wide circumference of Lake Nicaragua, with a total flight distance of approximately 18,000 km.

The project will utilize Precise Point Positioning (PPP) data processing technology as well as the airborne LiDAR method (Light Detection and Ranging), capable of penetrating the dense forests and detecting the actual topography and surface water. When applied to the water section, the technology is also able to generate terrain mapping of shallow sections of Lake Nicaragua shoreline and along the lake section of the canal route.

“The Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal project is of international significance and has the potential to economically transform Nicaragua and the region. CSA Global is very proud to be associated with such a visionary project. CSA Global’s capabilities and experience are a good fit for the project’s technical requirements,” CSA Global´s Managing Director Jeff Elliott said.

In addition to the airborne LiDAR technology and high-resolution digital photography (for land topography and near-shore bathymetric mapping), CSA Global will use airborne geophysics methods to obtain geological information of the project area, which in turn will form the enhanced base datasets to progress with reference designs and planning of the construction phase.

According to Elliott, the majority of the data collection phase of the aerial survey will be undertaken during the next few months and the final products from the aerial survey are scheduled to be delivered to HKND by March 2016.

John Murray, Senior Advisor of HKND Group, suggested that the survey results will provide baseline data, enable detailed planning and allow optimization of the project. Furthermore, the survey will allow assessment of geological risks such as seismic activity, tsunami, volcanic eruption, landslide, slope stability and liquefaction.

Nicaragua Grand Canal is a proposed 276-kilometer waterway, 230 to 520 metres wide and 27.6 metres deep, making it longer, wider and deeper than the 51-mile Panama Canal to the south.

The project is expected to be completed in five years with the Canal becoming operational by 2020.

According to HKDN Group, the Canal project will include 6 sub projects: the Canal (including locks), 2 ports, a free trade zone, holiday resorts, an international airport and several roads. In addition, there will be construction of a power station, cement factory, steel factory and other related facilities.

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