In May 2018 the Australian Government announced its intention to construct a 2700m paved runway near Davis research station, subject to environmental approvals.
For the 2019–20 field season, Australian Defence Force (ADF) surveyors are supporting the project to gather vital terrestrial and hydrographic data. A team of four ADF terrestrial surveyors have spent most of the summer at Davis, whilst nine ADF hydrographic surveyors recently arrived at Davis station on the Aurora Australis.
The primary focus for the terrestrial team is undertaking a full feature survey of the runway footprint, located on the Ridge Site of the Vestfold Hills, as well as surveying access road alignments and areas of additional infrastructure through Adams Flat, Heidemann Valley and Davis Link. This critical work will help collect vital terrain survey data, enabling design of the proposed runway to continue. The terrestrial survey team will also undertake surveys of the current Davis research station, as well as areas where new infrastructure may be required if the aerodrome is approved to be constructed.
The hydrographic team will undertake hydrographic surveys around Davis station, including exploring potential locations for additional or expanded wharf or boat ramp infrastructure, or alternative barge landing areas. This work is undertaken through Inflatable Rubber Boats, with hydrographic survey gear specially mounted to custom platforms that are attached to the boat. The collection of hydrographic data is a critical component in identifying future opportunities for supporting station operations and future infrastructure requirements.