Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mapping the underworld – don’t dig there!

22.03.2006


The first 3D maps of the UK underworld are to be created in a new £2.2m project which will save the UK millions of pounds by reducing the amount we dig up our roads.



There are enough pipes and cables buried under our streets to stretch to the moon and back ten times, but we don’t know where many of them are. Researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Nottingham will help to locate them, by finding a way to integrate existing digital and paper-based records and link these with data from satellite and ground-based positioning systems.

They aim to bring all this information together in a format that’s easy to understand for contractors, utility companies and planners – so it can be displayed visually on a PC in the office or handheld unit in the street.


Four million holes are dug each year in the nation’s road – one every seven seconds – to repair pipes and cables or install new ones, at an estimated cost of £1bn per annum. With indirect costs, such as congestion, this rises to an estimated £5bn p.a. – over £80 for every inhabitant of the UK.

By creating more accurate information, the project will help reduce the numbers of holes dug, ensure they are dug in the right place and that unexpected pipes and cables aren’t damaged in the process. Reducing roadworks by just 0.1% would save the UK economy millions of pounds a year.

Announcing £900,000 funding for the research from the DTI’s Technology Programme, Minister for Science and Innovation, Lord Sainsbury, heralded the project as ‘world beating’ and said it would help ‘develop a competitive advantage for British business’.

Leading the research at Leeds is Professor of Automated Reasoning, Tony Cohn. He said: “We’ll always need to dig holes in the street, but reducing the amount of roadworks would bring enormous economic and environmental benefits, with fewer traffic jams and exhaust emissions. From a human point of view, we also hope to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries every year from accidental hits on gas pipes and electrical cables.

“Many of the country’s underground pipes were laid in the 19th and early 20th century, when it wasn’t seen as important to keep accurate records of location and depth. Even where we have records, many are now very inaccurate, as reference points such as kerbs or buildings have moved or been demolished. And because each company has their own records there’s no easy way of providing an integrated view. Our aim is to create the technology to enable the construction of a dynamic map of all the UK’s underground assets.”

One of the challenges facing the researchers is to create a centimetre-accurate satellite-based location technology which can work even in ‘urban canyons’ to record in-street observations. Another challenge is linking these recordings to existing information held by each utility, to create a complete picture of what lies underground. The final step will be ensuring this information is provided to those who need it in a form that is accessible and comprehensible.

The research is being led by the University of Leeds, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham and 19 companies and organisations from the utilities, transport and engineering sectors and managed by UKWIR (UK Water Industry Research Ltd).

Vanessa Bridge | alfa
Further information:
http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/mtu
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>