Cones, holes and temporary traffic lights the scourge of Britain's roads! But now scientists and industry have come together to reduce the misery of motorists caused by the repair, maintenance and upgrading of pipes and cables under the tarmac. They'll reveal how new technology will allow workers to virtually 'see' underground before they start digging.
A sector-wide seminar at The University of Nottingham on June 11th brings together these pioneering researchers, utilities companies and local authorities to reveal the results of a major project that aims to unclog Britain's traffic arteries.
For the past three years the VISTA project has been working to transform the technology for mapping the underground network of drains, water and gas pipes, as well as power and communications cables. Many of the older 'buried assets' date back to Victorian times, when accurate records of their location and depth were not recorded.
Every year 4 million holes are dug on Britain's streets to access the subterranean maze of 3.5 million kilometres of pipes and cables. Up to now, utility companies have needed to dig a series of 'test' holes to find the service they need to work on. This prolongs the road works and increases the risk of damaging other services beneath the road or pavement. The resulting delay to road users, disruption to business, environmental damage and safety costs add up to around 4 billion, in addition to the 1 billion direct cost to utilities companies and local councils.
The VISTA project draws to a close this year and is bringing together existing paper and digital records with the latest satellite and ground-based 'radar' positioning systems to create 3D maps of the buried utilities network. A virtual-reality style computer system is being developed which will allow workers onsite to 'see' underground. This could eventually be available on the web.
Scientists at The University of Nottingham have been working
|Contact: Jo Parker|
University of Nottingham