Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide

Date:
July 4, 2008
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Running for more than 1,000 kilometers along picturesque coastline, California's Highway 1 is easy prey for many of the natural hazards plaguing the region, including landslides.

Close-up image of the tunnel roof showing a gVT measurement location. The arrow is a vector perpendicular to a surface that marks a discontinuity between rock layers. The orientation of the arrow in space gives the azimuth and slope of the surface.
Credit: Jeramy Decker, Kiewit Corp

Running for more than 1,000 kilometers along picturesque coastline, California's Highway 1 is easy prey for many of the natural hazards plaguing the region, including landslides.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is currently building a kilometer-long tunnel to bypass one of the most landslide-prone stretches of the highway, the Devil's Slide, to help ensure drivers' safe passage.

Using a new software package developed by researchers at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., project engineers are getting a detailed 3-D view of the rock exposed in the excavation, adding a new tool for improving both safety and construction progress.

Developed as part of a National Science Foundation Information Technology Research Initiative (ITR) project, the software, called "geotechnical Visualization Tool" (gVT), converts imagery of millions of rock-surface points--collected at a safe distance by a laser scanner--into an easily manipulated web of information. The data become a permanent digital record of the newly exposed material.

The scan data, at a resolution of 5 millimeters, provides information that the software program packages into enormous visualizations incorporating up to 10 meters of excavated tunnel. Engineers then use gVT to spot potential hazards to both the tunnel and the construction crews before weaknesses in the rock have a chance to trigger a collapse.

The information is so detailed that researchers can observe where rock layers are separating andhow fractures are oriented. Researchers caneven recreate sections of rock after they have fallen, providing a critical asset for determining where and how to safely drill. Because the data is portable, engineers can conduct all of the analyses from their home base at any time, far from the danger of the tunnel.

"Geologic maps have traditionally been made using manual measurements taken by geologists directly on the rock," said Joseph Dove, the lead developer of gVT at Virginia Tech and co-PI on the ITR project. "Laser scanning is revolutionary for underground mapping because it allows direct collection of digital data in three dimensions at high resolution."

After a careful analysis of the scanned data, the engineers can take manual follow-up measurements to confirm their results.

"These 3-D visualizations enhance geological documentation and an engineer's ability to make decisions," added Jeramy Decker, a Ph.D. graduate of Virginia Tech and co-developer of gVT, now at Kiewitt Pacific Company, the construction contractor excavating the tunnels.

In use as part of a suite of private industry engineering tools and software critical to the tunneling beneath Devil's Slide, gVT is the product of a two-year collaboration between civil engineers and computer scientists. The Devil's Slide application is the first use of gVT in a true construction environment.

Decker presented the new technique in a talk at the 42nd U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium in San Francisco on June 29th.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630130116.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2008, July 4). Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630130116.htm
National Science Foundation. "Lasers, Software And The Devil's Slide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630130116.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) A Dutch highway has become the first lit by glow-in-the-dark paint — a project aimed at reducing street light use. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins