EWN’s view360 Team Travels to the Twelve Apostles

Capturing one of Victoria’s most memorable natural monuments – View360 gets out and about on the Great Ocean Road

Our View360 team recently headed for the deep south of the continent to undertake mapping of one of Victoria’s most dramatic natural tourist attractions – the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.

Located offshore from the Port Campbell National Park, these limestone formations up to 45 metres high are under stress from the same forces that created them – the eroding power of waves and high winds.

The View360 mapping project carried out by View360 Project Manager Danny Timson and Chief Pilot Mark Phillips enabled EWN’s data team to create volumetric digital modelling of the iconic formations.

The precisely geo-located and highly detailed model will allow the rate of erosion at specific parts of each formation to be monitored to the centimetre, making it an invaluable tool for any management plan created for the tourism drawcard in future.

Surveying a natural wonder

The team spent four days in the area, staying at the peaceful, picturesque village of Port Campbell.

Danny Timson said the trip was “really one huge highlight for both of us.”

“The scenery is breathtaking and immense,” he said.

One of the trip’s most standout moments was the day the two easternmost Apostles were filmed by the EWN drone. To achieve the best results, the team made their way down to the nearby beach and set up to launch the drone at around 6.30am for its mapping flight. The location meant they were very close to the rock formations and the breaking waves.

“We usually began filming by around 6.30 am every morning to avoid the crowds and local aircraft which began operating mid morning. The rest of each day was spent processing and working with the data.”

The quality of the images and video data is crucial to the accuracy and resolution of the 3D modelling.

Naturally, there were a few challenges

Like any View360 mission, there were some challenges the team had to manage.

“Weather is our greatest challenge,” Danny said.

“We’re always looking for low  - or no - winds, good even light and no rain. Other issues are ensuring we only work in unrestricted airspace and maintaining a safe distance from the public and property.

“We were lucky with the weather which was excellent on all 4 days with clear skies and light winds. While we’re never 100 percent at ease when we have a equipment like cameras and UAVs flying over the open ocean, the project went extremely smoothly.

“We have strong faith in our equipment and processes and each project we do like this teaches us to have continued trust in these aspects.”

One of the important considerations with UAVs – otherwise known as drones – is avoiding high winds as much as possible. While the UAVs can operate and maintain accuracy, high winds can create a drain on the batteries as the drones need to draw extra juice to maintain a geolocated position. Salt spray is also best avoided as it can be problematic for both the drones and the cameras they carry.

The view the public rarely glimpses

One of the special things about the footage for anyone who has visited the Apostles is it gives viewers a close look at the face the public can’t see from shore, as the drones circle the formations in slowly descending spirals.

Danny explained that controlling the flight path of the UAV when it is behind the subject is simple.

“Our drone flies a pre-programmed route which is created on our computer. The drone flies through several designated waypoints at a set altitude then upon completing the path automatically returns to its launch site,” Danny said.

“The great thing about having set missions is they can be saved and weeks, months or even years later we can return and fly the exact same mission and compare the data to earlier missions.”

How these projects can benefit future management

What being able to repeat the exact same flight path means for the National Parks Service and Heritage bodies is they can commission a future survey and gain an accurate digital assessment of the rates of erosion compared to the model this project created.

This is of course one of the benefits of View360 for many locations – the ability to precisely geolocate and capture data and images in real-time and generate comparisons. The same threats that are impacting the Apostles in terms of erosion are found around the nation on our riverbanks, on farmland, and on key transport routes. WE think better information, like that provided by View360, can assist with improved monitoring, mitigation and management of these threats.

See them now – they won’t be here forever

Danny said the fact the Apostles have a finite lifespan due to the forces of erosion made him appreciate undertaking the project even more.

“These monuments are definitely a must-see for anyone who hasn’t visited the area yet,” he said.

“The scenery is breathtaking. Not just the Apostles, but the entire area.

“It’s also nice the surrounding areas haven’t been commercialised. It's very quiet and peaceful with mainly farmlands surrounding the site.”

[Video footage coming soon]

Featured // Storm Chasing in America by Michael Bath

Recently our very own Michael Bath, embarked on a three week storm chasing adventure in the USA with Jason Paterson and Rodney Wallbridge. The road trip covered thousands of miles chasing 12 tornadoes across the central plains. We asked him to keep a journal and share stories with us on his return. Today I am sharing two days in the life of a storm chaser on what I imagine, must have been the trip of a lifetime.


The setup today looked great with the Storm Prediction Centre upgrading to an enhanced slight risk. Looking through the models the place to be appeared to be on the Texas/Oklahoma border near Shattuck or just west of there. Indications were that an isolated supercell would develop by early afternoon in the Texas Panhandle. We drove into position and sure enough cumulus was developing.

One cell soon exploded just to our WSW. Powerful updrafts and anvil filled the sky and soon killed off other nearby convection. A wall cloud was apparent on the north side for some time but we soon observed that the storm was splitting with the south right mover base looking very interesting. We moved west then south to be in position.

A large funnel cloud formed adjacent to the bear’s cage. A quick stop for that! We then moved a little further south to just north of Canadian, Texas. The storm was barely moving so we were able to watch various stages of intensification and cycling of the base and updraft features.

Closing in on 5pm the base took on a much more menacing and dynamic appearance with obvious rotation and clear slot from the RFD. Winds had backed to easterly from SE and had strengthened. A collar cloud wrapped in, part of which was over us! Then just before 5pm a massive cone tornado formed in a matter of seconds.

Unbelievable - and it was barely a mile away. A scramble to record and photograph everything as the tornado evolved into various shapes, but also remained in the one spot. We were in the mesocyclone and got hit by a few bursts of fat rain drops but no hail. After nearly 10 minutes the tornado roped out but the storm was far from dying. We hadn’t noticed another circulation right overhead in all the excitement. We moved into Canadian and SE a bit for more views. The precipitation was closing in and we soon got hit by some hail to 2cm. Moving back west and then south of town, the storm had now organised again and dropped two brief tornadoes in a similar position to the earlier one.

One last move south to a high spot and we were able to watch the last strong phase including a couple of funnel clouds before a wrap around of the precipitation from the west led to cold outflow and the demise of the storm as tornadic.

What a day. We then drove to Woodward, OK for accommodation. This storm had pretty much developed at a location NW of Canadian and remained anchored there for about five hours.


We left Raton, New Mexico aiming for southeast Wyoming as the initial target. The scenery is spectacular through to the west of the Interstate 25 with snow capped peaks. Some high based convection was occurring from late morning but seeing Pikes Peak in the distance was too much so we decided to take a detour up there for some sightseeing. What a drive! We were able to get to 13000 feet until stopped by the ranger as too much snow had fallen higher up - in fact it was the snowiest month ever there.

We did a walk across the snow to one of the peaks enjoying being on top of the world.

Snowy looking showers were nearby and just as we left the top it hit. Lots of small soft hail and one almighty flash of lightning right nearby! 

Detour over, it was time to pursue the storms in eastern Colorado. Activity was under way by the time we left Colorado Springs so headed towards Limon for the first intercept. This had a high based shelf cloud.

About this time an isolated thunderstorm had shot up just in Kansas northeast of our location. It was powerful from the outset so we decided to race east along the interstate for an intercept. Fortunately it was moving very slowing towards the south and even back building west of south - right along the Kansas Colorado border.

We caught up with it at Burlington. Meanwhile out first storm had strengthened to our SW and was developing towards the east. We enjoyed an amazing display of boiling updrafts and wall cloud features included some funnel clouds.

Moving south the two big hailstorms were interacting. Lightning was flicking through the updrafts. Moving south some more as the storms collided then seemed to speed up towards the SE. We looked for some hail and unfortunately got the car stuck on a muddy road before getting out of that! We then found hail drifts with stones up to 3.5cm, plus some sunset lightning.  The original target today busted so the detour meant we were able to get some great storms.

Michael Bath - National Operations Manager. 

What an incredible experience! I will share more from Michael's travels soon. In the meantime, we would love to feature your stories here on our blog. Introduce yourself. Tell us what you would like to share. See this post here. Looking forward to getting to meeting you. Roweena.

Tell us your story

We would love to know more about you. Do you love weather? Do you work in the industry or go storm chasing in your spare time? Did you have a weather related experience that was hard to forget or life changing? If you have a story to share, please contact us because we would like to feature readers stories here on the blog from time to time. Please include links to any relevant information like your photos, social media pages and your website if you have one. Thanks, Rowe. 

Name *

Filming the Ghan Train Line

Last year EWN completed a unique project which involved recording a 360 degree view of the Ghan railway line, running from Darwin in the Northern Territory through to Alice Springs, and down to Northgate in South Australia. The project was commissioned by one of EWN's corporate clients, International Rail Management Company, Genesee & Wyoming

The project involved over 6 days of shooting, mounting the VIEW360 camera on top of one of Genesee & Wyoming's hi-rail vehicles and driving along the track at approximately 80 kms an hour. Our team covered 2200 km of railway track, captured 2.5 million separate images by the six cameras on EWN's VIEW360.

It was a super exciting project to be part of and we saw some incredible scenery and landscapes along the way! Here are just a few of the images captured by EWN.

James_Harris_Oh What a Feeling

If you would like to see more VIEW360 footage visit our website to see our other recent projects.

NSW and QLD Riverview360
View360 flood footage
Fraser Island 

The EWN team.

Image credits // Rowe Timson, Michael Bath and James Harris.

Landscape Photography Competition Winners

Last month we ran themed photo competitions on our Facebook page. We gave away JB Hifi vouchers and a GoPro Camera. There were so many amazing images entered and we wanted to share a few with you. Here are the winners chosen by the EWN team and the people’s choice awards chosen by our Facebook followers.

Sunset Theme Winner // David Bostock

Storm Theme Winner // Russell Knoblock

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 8.56.45 pm.png

Sunset Theme People’s Choice // Annette Schimke

Storm Theme People’s Choice // Steven Forward

If you would like to see more of the entries, you can see the water themed gallery here, the storm themed gallery here and the sunset gallery here. Roweena ~ EWN Team.