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Bernold, L E (2005) Automatic As-Built Generation with Utility Trenchers. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 131(06), 740–7.
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: Utilities; Construction management; Subsurface environment; Safety; Internet;
- ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2005)131:6(740)
The proper functioning of the subsurface infrastructure is vital for the public, industry, and government. As is demonstrated almost daily, small disruptions or malfunctions of public utilities, such as power, gas, or phone, can result in catastrophic events on local, regional, or national levels. This paper addresses a known weak point in protecting buried utilities from damage, the lack of accurate as- builts. It is suggested to take advantage of enabling technologies to automatically create as-built drawings relying on electronic sensory data collected real-time from operating machinery. A significant portion of the paper discusses the development of a spatially integrated trencher, a prototype that was subsequently used to execute field experiments. The encouraging outcome of those tests, which are supported with actual data, demonstrated the soundness of the concept and the level of accuracy that can be expected. The relevance to the industry lies in that it addresses a real and complex problem, proposing and demonstrating a workable technology to close a large gap in the way we track our subsurface infrastructure. It is hoped that researchers will be encouraged to extend the concept to other relevant applications while applying a similar rigorous method of experimental field testing.