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What is a Bathymetric Survey?

A bathymetric survey (sometimes referred to as a fathometric survey) is a type of hydrographic or water-based survey that maps the depths and shapes of underwater terrain to illustrate the land that lies below. Bathymetric surveyors work to obtain an exact representative image of the seabed and identify elevations, anomalies and the presence of scour around submerged structures. They also analyze and define the surrounding shorelines, tides, currents, and waves to create a better model of the area features overall.

Our hydrographic survey vessels are also equipped to perform singlebeam, side scan sonar, magnetometer, sub-bottom profiler, and sampling.

When performing bathymetric surveys in deeper waters for marine construction projects like dredging or offshore energy, McLaren typically utilizes multibeam survey technology aboard a custom vessel. Long ago, bathymetric survey techniques used pre-measured heavy ropes lowered over a ship’s side (lead lines), but today, technology like multibeam echosounders safely attach to a manned or unmanned vessel to conduct accurate and precise measurements. The multibeam system pings sound waves in a fan shape of narrow adjacent beams that bounce off the seabed and return to calculate the distance to the seafloor.

Bathymetric Survey in Shallow Water

Shallow water survey conducted with high-tech Teledyne Z-boat.

Shallow water survey conducted with high-tech Teledyne Z-boat.

Many bathymetric surveys for projects like shoreline stabilization, engineering design, or infrastructure remediation, require bathymetric surveys to be performed in very shallow waters inaccessible by traditional vessels. Conducting these surveys in shallow water can be extremely difficult in terms of accessibility, space, fast-flowing currents, submerged debris, navigational hazards, or environmentally sensitive habitats. To mitigate these effects, McLaren surveyors use cutting edge tools like remote-control Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) technology. This state-of-the-art equipment conducts precise bathymetric surveys in shallow water safely and efficiently.

Topographic mapping benefiting a bathymetric survey.

For these shallow water surveys, our hydrographic crews have been using high-tech equipment including Teledyne Z-boats and HyDrone Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) combined with either a multibeam or singlebeam echosounder, positioned with RTK-GNSS. For projects such as the survey of bridges and nearshore embankments, topographic mapping is often needed in addition to a bathymetric survey. For this, McLaren uses custom solutions tailored to each project, that may include the use of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) / Drones, mobile lidar, or terrestrial 3D laser scanners.

Bathymetric Survey Application

McLaren’s bathymetric survey work has been an integral part of the development of many bridge and marine projects like Domino Park, Weehawken Pier, Westchester Bundled Bridges, NYC Ferry system and the development of Off-shore Wind facilities in the United States. “Hydrographic surveys are one of the first steps to determine if a project in or near water is conceptually and physically feasible,” says Steven MacDonald PLS, P.Eng., McLaren Albany Regional Director & Geomatics Principal. “In addition to large offshore or near-shore construction projects, these surveys can also be used as analysis for flood inundation, scour and stabilization, water-quality studies, waterfront facility inspections, habitat mapping, dam removals and environmental spills.”

Steven MacDonald can be reached for more information on Bathymetric Surveys and all our other Hydrographic, Geophysical, and 3D documentation, surveying capabilities. He is an industry leader who possesses a dynamic blend of renewables, geosciences and environmental expertise. Steven has over 15 years of experience delivering high resolution hydrographic, geophysical, geotechnical, cadastral, and environmental surveys with specialties in Offshore Energy, Nautical Charting, Emergency Response, and 4D full life span monitoring.

Warehouse Conversion - The Pennant

Work on the soon-to-be five-story waterfront residential building, The Pennant, is currently underway in the historic Fell’s Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. McLaren is working with architecture firm Hord Coplan Macht and general contractors Chesapeake Contracting Group to provide structural and marine engineering for this part adaptive reuse, part new construction apartment and townhome complex developed by Elm Street Development.

The planned 285-unit structure warehouse conversion project will repurpose a section of the site’s existing two-story Wolfe Street warehouse to a parking garage, fitness center, residential entry and storage space. A three-story addition will be constructed above the existing levels and be set back from warehouse parapet. Adjacent, a 5-story, 307,500 sf addition will be erected on existing foundations to house a leasing center, main amenity space, and residential units.

McLaren’s marine division’s in-house P.E. divers performed above and under-water inspections of the bulkhead system and concrete platform lining the warehouse conversion development. The team made recommendations to increase the longevity of the existing system and designed a new bulkhead system, reusing the existing tie-backs and piles.

Supergroup Redefining the Rhythm of Business Post COVID

Jul. 1, 2020
August, 5th
2:00 - 3:00 PM ESTRSVP

Join us Wednesday, August 5th as McLaren hosts this Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) virtual event:

Redefining the Rhythm of Business- Formation of the Supergroup Marketing Strategy
Whether it was the joining of solo artists Crosby, Stills & Nash (plus or minus Young) that revolutionized American pop/rock music or the uniting of the Avengers to save the world from destruction, Supergroups have always been successful when great individuals collaborate. The Supergroup concept, when merged correctly, can become one of the best marketing strategies to propel your business forward. Learn how to form your own Supergroup with out-of-the-box synergy and redefine the rhythm with creative, experimental ideas.

Denisa Moss-Heitlager, Director of Marketing, Matt Kawczenski, P.E., S.E., F.SEI, Pennsylvania Regional Director, and Ray Fusco, Director of Client Relations, will discuss marketing strategies aimed at developing stronger communities for a successful rebound. Join us as we share ideas for redefining the rhythm of New Jersey business through the formation of Supergroups and how you can adapt it to your industry, market and community.

Facade Engineer Nominated ASCE Director of Community Outreach

Congratulations to Facade Engineer, Brenna Henry on her installation as Director of Community Outreach at the Lower Hudson Valley Branch of ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Met Section!

Brenna started as an intern in our Building Envelope Group and was hired full-time facade engineer right after receiving her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 2018.

Specializing in consultation, design and inspection of facades, she has been a part of building up some of the most iconic projects in and around NYC, including the TWA Hotel Renovation, LaGuardia Airport’s Concourse B, the Virgin Hotel in NoMad, Design of the Highline’s West Stair, Columbia Business School and the Marriott International Headquarters in Maryland.  Check out some of the other stunning building envelope work she has been a part of on our Facade Engineering page.

Brenna has been giving back to her community in countless ways, making her a great asset to the ASCE Met Section as they continue to reach and bring a younger demographic into the engineering field. Her local involvement includes:

  • Academic advisement through the Liberty Partnership Program to help decrease dropout rates by advising students on college applications and college life, and helping them with their homework, studying and time management skills.
  • Mentoring her alma mater high school robotics team to victory in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition that aims to give students real-world engineering experience in a fun and collaborative environment.
  • Participated in various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Awareness panels, answering engineering questions students had for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE)
  • Motivating students interested in engineering through her volunteer work at the annual Tri-State Engineering EXPO
  • and more

Join us in congratulating Brenna on LinkedIn!

Even prior to COVID-19, the lack of Affordable Housing was an entrenched problem that is now being exacerbated by the unprecedented levels of unemployment and loss of income being experienced.  Faced with this challenge, cities like NYC have been continuing affordable housing development as essential construction.

McLaren’s Senior Associate, Structural Engineer, and Pratt Professor, Jesse Chrismer, PE and his fellow panelists, Desiree Andrepont, Christopher Cirillo (he/him/his), Jerrod Delaine, Nicole Ferreira, recently came together to discuss the issues in “Affordable Housing’s Response to the Pandemic.”

Gain insights into the difficulties and the current economy, hear how affordable housing development incentives work, understand coliving solutions, and learn what experts in the industry are saying.

This AIA-accredited course was made free by the partnership of Pratt Institute School of Architecture and AIA Brooklyn in an effort to service and benefit the AEC industry during COVID-19.

Bridges for NYSDOT Design Build in Pre-Construction Phase

McLaren’s Bridge/Highway/Rail team has begun work on the $115 million Design-Build of the Lower Westchester bridges with Halmar International. During this initial phase, our surveyors and geotechnical engineers have been in the field completing pre-construction evaluations at three locations just north of NYC in preparation for the replacement of five full bridges and a culvert.

This NYSDOT infrastructure project (D900049) aims to mitigate frequent flooding concerns of the sites’ overpasses and adjacent highways and includes 1,700 feet of soil stabilization along the Saw Mill River Parkway and extensive highway, drainage, utility and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) improvements along each high-volume corridor.

The projects are located at three specific sites in lower Westchester County: Hutchinson River Parkway at Lincoln Avenue in Pelham, NY; Saw Mill River Parkway in Thornwood, NY and Route 1 in Mamaroneck, NY. Further details on the five bridges include:

BIN No. Carried Crossed Spans Length
5500100 Lincoln Avenue Hutchinson River Parkway 1 63 ft 46 ft Concrete
3348300 Lincoln Avenue Hutchinson River 1 35 ft 44 ft Concrete
5500859 Saw Mill River Parkway Saw Mill River 1 27 ft 61 ft Stringer/Multi-Beam Girder, Steel
5500839 Saw Mill River Parkway Saw Mill River 1 29 ft 61 ft Stringer/Multi-Beam Girder, Steel
1000040 US Route 1 Mamaroneck River 1 50 ft 53 ft Concrete Arch

Take a sneak peek into a project that may soon serve as a unique model for urban ecological restoration. McLaren’s project partners recently presented South Wetlands Park: A 3D Walk Through of What Could Be! Delaware River Waterfront Corporation and Olin discussed the fascinating features and activities slated for Philadelphia’s nature-based public space and testbed for innovative waterfront adaptive reuse techniques and technologies.

McLaren is providing marine engineering services for the designs of piers 64, 67 and 70. By blending public access with the creation of terrestrial and aquatic habitats that will enhance and revive resiliency and ecological vitality in the area.

Learn about the concepts for the ecological restoration of this community-centered park and what McLaren is doing to employ natural processes in riverbank stabilization and innovation in wave energy dissipation, here.

Coastal Models Expert Achieves ACOPNE Certification

Congratulations Senior Coastal Engineer, Long Xu, P.E., D.CE, CFM, on receiving Coastal Engineering’s highest achievement — Diplomate in Coastal Engineering from the Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port & Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE)!

Long brings his expertise in the combination of coastal science and engineering, to analyzing the difficult issues that occur where land and water meet. With state-of-the-art coastal models, he evaluates the environmental forces and hydrodynamic impacts that are placed on coastal structures. The coastal models allow our clients to see the “what-if” scenarios and the effects climate change, storm surge, and waves have on waterfront structures, and how they can be designed to mitigate flood risks and potential storm damage.

ACOPNE proclaims Mr. Xu was board certified for his advanced expertise, advanced education, and attainment of specialized body of knowledge in coastal engineering.

Mr. Xu’s expertise include coastal processes, coastal structure design, mooring analysis, storm surge analysis, coastal flood hazard analysis, modeling of tide, wave, current, and sediment transport….His team is responsible for developing coastal basic and advanced analyses packages to meet various projects; provide technical design support for coastal and marine environments in NY, NJ, and surrounding areas; assist in bulkhead, revetment, breakwater, wave screen, riprap, pier, floating barge, and other waterfront design work. Long is leading the coastal analysis of NYC Parks Design Services for the reconstruction of Parks Waterfront Infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The project goal is to bring waterfront facilities up to a state of good repair in accordance with FEMA grants and other available funding.

“This is a great achievement in my career. It took a while before I meet all the requirements needed to achieve this certification,” said Long. “I am thankful McLaren has supported me along the way, and I am honored to join my mentor and the Vice President – Marine, Stephen Famularo, P.E., D.PE, in having an ACOPNE Board Certification.”

Is the Drive-In Experience Really Safe? With Covid-19 forcing the entertainment industry to reimagine a “new-normal” for the upcoming summer season, business owners are scrambling for innovative and safe ways to generate socially distanced events. The biggest challenge centers around how to bring the public together, while avoiding tightly packed gatherings and providing a new standard of cleanliness demanded by both patrons and local authorities. One solution gaining much traction across the nation is the resurgence of the drive-in movie theater and the evolution of other automobile-centered performances.

Once considered a kitsch relic of American culture, drive-ins are now being hailed for their ability to provide a show-going experience that adheres to our current pandemic health protocols. Prepaid spots, delivered refreshments, and hundreds of people sitting inside their own cars to watch a film, seems like a perfect solution to preserve summer revenue while keeping patrons socially distanced and entertained. With only about 300 operating drive-ins left around the country, numerous local businesses (many inexperienced in the production of such events) are taking a leap and converting existing parking lots and open spaces into pop-up drive-ins – but is the drive-in experience really safe?

Is the Drive-In Experience Really Safe?

Example of not adhering to pandemic health guidelines.

To ensure true safety, precautions for these events cannot solely focus on COVID-19 related measures. While many owners and event producers will inevitably be emphasizing the social distancing aspect, there are other traditional safety concerns that cannot be overlooked. Makers of these local pop-up productions need to also consider fire safety, security, weather safety and structural safety. Protecting the public from preventable dangers, such as LED screen supports that are vulnerable to high winds, is equally as important as adhering to pandemic health guidelines.

For these pop-up drive-ins, tight schedules and limited budgets put events at risk for lapses in overall safety measures. When developing a live event production, owners who are not familiar with the logistics and complexity of such an undertaking, may underestimate the costs associated with the equipment and related safety planning. Likewise, in today’s lean market, event production companies may be hungry for work and could be vulnerable to cutting corners to provide a quick and inexpensive solution. With local officials and businesses eager to bring economic activity back to life, it is important to understand that skimping on traditional safety measures and only focusing on COVID-19 precautions, can cost owners and patrons more in the long run.

When all factors are considered, the drive-in experience can be a great option for entertainment events this summer season and well into the future. However, when pop-up events are created with only COVID-19 measures in mind, patrons are at risk for other potential hazards. Pop-up events and specialty productions should always involve experienced professionals who understand local guidelines and are well versed in important industry standards like the ones listed below:

  • The Event Safety Guide, published by the Event Safety Alliance, latest edition
  • ANSI ES1.19-2018 “Safety Requirements for Special Event Structures”
  • ANSI E1.21-2020 “Entertainment Technology – Temporary Structures Used for Technical Production of Outdoor Entertainment Events”
  • ANSI E1.50-1-2017 “Entertainment Technology – Requirements for the Structural Support of Temporary LED, Video & Display Systems”
  • The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide, published May 2020

About the Author…William B. Gorlin, PE, SE Vice President – Entertainment is the driving force behind McLaren Engineering Group’s flourishing entertainment division. Through his 35-year career, he has engineered and overseen thousands of projects in the Live Entertainment industry including iconic concerts and tour staging and rigging, temporary and pop-up structures, theatrical production engineering, TV and film production support, and performer flying systems and equipment design. His work also includes awe-inspiring theme park engineering, rigging, staging and equipment machinery, architectural theming, signage and displays and structural engineering of entertainment venues around the world.

Do you think this summer’s pop-up events will be safe? Share your thoughts on LinkedIn or CIANJ.

Is the Drive-In Experience Really Safe?

How much does a dive helmet weigh? A dive helmet typically weighs about 32 lbs topside but underwater the Archimedes Principle kicks in and it becomes neutrally buoyant. Watch this snippet of Senior Engineer and PE Diver, JJ Woolley, PE, sharing some more interesting facts and functions, with students during an online class, about one of his most important pieces of dive equipment.

After conducting recent underwater inspections of New York Harbor School’s kayak and boat launch piers, McLaren’s marine group saw an opportunity to give back and educate the high school students, who are preparing for careers on the water, about real-life applications in marine engineering. Initially slated as an in-person demonstration and dive inspection observation at the school’s Governors Island campus, our team had to shift gears to do a live virtual learning session. Members of our marine group answered questions and provided an introduction about the field, gave a career path overview, and discussed inspection tools and techniques.