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 Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>