• LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Youtube

How Virtual Reality is helping the fight against flooding

07 February – As part of its efforts to prevent flooding of the River Nith at Whitesands in Dumfries, Scotland, Mouchel is using virtual reality headsets to explain to local residents how their designs will protect the town from flooding and regenerate the riverside.


As lead designer for Dumfries and Galloway Council’s £20million scheme, Mouchel has put using virtual reality to engage residents and other local stakeholders at the front of their communications plan in a number of recent public consultation meetings.

The virtual reality headsets allowed the local community to experience a “live” preview of the design. Whilst wearing the headsets residents can see and “walk through” the design in 3D, including walking along new the embankment pathways. A 3D model flythrough takes the viewer from Greensands, down Whitesands to St Michael’s Bridge and on through Dock Park. 

Paul Swift, flooding and drainage technical director at Mouchel, said: “Using virtual reality has made a real difference in giving the public an opportunity to understand how their local area is going to change. It’s an immersive experience that provides the truest possible reflection of what we have designed. We are now increasingly moving away from static drawings and helping bring the proposals to life. It’s a really exciting time and we are already looking at where else we can use this cutting edge technology to benefit clients and their schemes.’

Whitesands and Mouchel

Whitesands is an area that regularly suffers from flooding, and the scheme is approaching the significant Flood Protection Order publication milestone. If it is approved, a funding application to the Scottish Government will be made and then detail design will commence if funding is secured.  Mouchel, which was recently acquired by global professional services consultancy WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, has been working with the council since 2010.

How it works

A 3D model of the existing environment and proposed flood defence and landscaping was developed using airborne topographic LIDAR data, ground survey data, CAD plans and photography. Materials were applied to the model which was then populated with street furniture, people, animals and vehicles. Our image rendering software was configured to render a 3D stereoscopic 360 degree panorama for each of the locations. These images were installed in the VR headsets and presented in an automated slideshow. At each location the user could look around in all directions using normal head movement to view the proposed design.

Notes to editor

For media enquiries please contact Tom Hawkins on 020 7314 4585 / tom.hawkins@wspgroup.com

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. Our 36,700 people, based in more than 500 offices, across 40 countries provide engineering and multidisciplinary services in a vast array of industry sectors, with a focus on technical excellence and client service.

In the UK, 7,100 people (including Mouchel Consulting) provide consultancy services to all aspects of the built and natural environment working across both the public and private sectors, with local and national governments, local authorities, developers, contractors and co-professionals. The combined business has been involved in many high profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, the re-development of London Bridge Station, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network.


If you’d like to take on some ambitious and exciting challenges in 2017 and beyond, we’d like to speak with you in the strictest confidence to understand more about your aspirations. Let’s Talk – register your interest here



Unknown Unknown
Unknown Unknown Unknown
Unknown Unknown
Unknown Unknown Unknown