Research team monitors critical infrastructure using navigation satellites

Research team monitors critical infrastructure using navigation satellites

technology By Dec 27, 2023 No Comments

Monitoring Critical Infrastructure Using Navigation Satellites

From the outside, the Kölnbrein water dam and the DC Tower in Vienna may seem unrelated,
but for a research group at Graz University of technology, they are equally fascinating
from a scientific standpoint.

By capturing measurements on these structures, the team has developed an innovative
satellite-based method for the static and dynamic monitoring of critical infrastructure
as part of the InfraHealth project.

This pioneering method has the potential to revolutionize the way we monitor and ensure
the safety and integrity of essential structures.

Combining Static and Dynamic Monitoring

With this advanced technique, the team can track slow deformations, such as changes in
the reservoir level of a dam, using static measurements. In addition, dynamic measurements
enable the recording of building vibrations and the detection of critical changes based
on deviations.

Previously, different methods had to be utilized for static and dynamic measurements,
but this new method integrates both, allowing for comprehensive monitoring of infrastructure
Health.

Exceptional Accuracy and Continuous Monitoring

One of the remarkable aspects of this method is its high level of accuracy, achieved
through measurements with Satellites located approximately 20,000 kilometers away from
the structures. Project manager, Caroline Schönberger, emphasizes that the team can
detect vibrations in the millimeter range or even smaller.

Furthermore, this method allows for continuous monitoring irrespective of environmental
conditions, including rain, snow, fog, or high winds. This capability represents a
significant advancement in ensuring the ongoing safety of critical infrastructure.

Utilizing Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)

The new measurement method utilizes local antennas and publicly accessible GNSS signals
from Galileo, GPS, and GLONASS Satellites. These antennas, attached to relevant measuring
points on the structure, enable dynamic measurements with a frequency of 20 Hertz, capturing
the position every 0.05 seconds.

The combination of GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS signals has been found to produce the best
results, ensuring the reliability and accuracy required for effective infrastructure
monitoring.

Virtual Reality Planning and Antenna Deployment

To ensure that the antennas have contact with the Satellites at the intended measuring
points, the research team developed a tool to carry out the entire planning in virtual
reality. This preparation process is crucial for the accurate and effective deployment
of monitoring equipment.

The team’s meticulous planning and precise antenna placement are exemplified in the
successful monitoring of the Kölnbrein dam and the DC Tower, demonstrating the practical
application of their groundbreaking method.

Recording Earthquake Shocks and Building Movements

During the series of measurements, the researchers captured the shockwaves of an earthquake
550 kilometers away in northern Italy, based on the movements of the DC Tower. This remarkable
demonstration of the method’s sensitivity showcases its potential for early detection of
structural changes and external influences.

Werner Lienhart, head of the Institute of Engineering Geodesy and Measurement Systems,
highlights the method’s in-depth understanding of the current state of Health of a structure.
This holistic approach is particularly crucial for large Engineering structures approaching
the end of their planned service life.

Source: phys

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