Project undertaken for INPEX operations in Darwin Harbour (Australia)

Expertise Summary

  • Hydrodynamic forecast modelling
  • Metocean data storage and dissemination
  • Oil and chemical spill modelling
  • Search and Rescue modelling


RPS developed a model provide forecast currents for operational emergency response to oil and chemical spills, and search and rescue incidents in Darwin Harbour. RPS used the Delft3D model to replicate the complex current conditions that exist within Darwin Harbour. The model used high horizontal grid resolution as well as wetting and drying algorithms to define the extensive tidal flats and mangrove regions within the harbour and its tributaries. Several different datasets were integrated to accurately describe the shape of the existing seabed, including the latest electronic charts, as well as extensive LIDAR surveys taken by INPEX in the recently dredged areas within the harbour. Model performance was thoroughly validated by comparing the model output currents and water elevations with currents and water elevations measured throughout the harbour. This validation process ensured that the model predictions were both accurate and reliable, and able to be used in an operational capacity.

The modelled tidal current data is routinely updated, collated and stored on the EDS where it provides the required current forecasts for OILMAP, CHEMMAP and SARMAP for use in 24/7 response modelling.

Technology and Data Management

RPS applied a variety of in-house and third-party data, during this project, including open boundary tidal elevation data, bathymetric data, and tide station surface elevation data. Some of these sources are listed below. Several in-house software systems were used to generate, process and distribute the tidal current model data, including the Delft3D hydrodynamic model and the Environmental Data Server (EDS).


  • Delft3D
  • Environmental Data Server (EDS)

Data Sources

  • TOPEX/Poseidon harmonic data for open boundaries
  • Digitised electronic chart bathymetry
  • Surveyed LIDAR bathymetry
  • Measured currents and surface elevations
  • Tide station surface elevations
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