Underground Construction Information Management System in London

An underground construction information management system (UCIMS) was developed by itmsoil to monitor construction data from the new east-west rail link across London known as the Crossrail. The Crossrail project construction works, Europe's biggest construction project with projected costs of £15.9 billion, include underground development, comprising shafts, tunnels, and portals that extend beneath the already congested London underground.

Given the urban environment in which the tunneling and other construction activities are occurring, monitoring of the construction works and the impact on adjacent underground and aboveground structures was a key activity for the project management and engineering teams. The UCIMS monitors tens of thousands of real-time geotechnical instruments and structural sensors as well as overall construction progress. In addition to performance monitoring of a host of construction activities, the UCIMS also tracks the progress and performance of Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs). The UCIMS was designed to provide real-time access for all stakeholders to the construction and instrumentation data, and it required an intuitive, map-based user interface, showing progress and data locations relative to the surface features and other spatial information.

Geosyntec designed, developed, implemented, and is supporting a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based data management and visualization system, consisting of an intuitive map-based user interface for the UCIMS. The scope of work required that Geosyntec work closely with itmsoil and Crossrail over two years to provide an instrumentation and construction monitoring system of unprecedented functionality. The UCIMS is capable of displaying the output records of thousands of sensors at a time and overlaying these sensors over base maps, including CAD drawings, geo-referenced aerial photographs, raster maps, as well as photographs. Among the many features, users are able to pan, zoom, search and filter sensors, store views, measure areas, and click on sensors to produce time trend plots of data. These time trends, coupled with independent and automated alarm levels, provide timely feedback and protection to stakeholders. The functionality incorporated into the UCIMS by Geosyntec facilitates not only information presentation, but importantly, also provides timely information to operators, engineers, and managers who need to react to the output information and make time-critical decisions regarding construction activities.

Geosyntec used open-source web mapping software including MapServer, TileCache, and OpenLayers for the ease of customization and to eliminate long-term software licensing costs (estimated to be over $100,000 over five years) for the GIS- based components of the system. The UCIMS expands the capabilities of conventional GIS systems by integrating data management, data visualization, and efficient data interpretation across an entire construction network of activities.