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Evolution of Geospatial Technology in Bridge Construction
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This paper deals with the construction of bridges with the primary focus being in the various geospatial technologies used during the construction of bridges and how this technology has grown during the years. In the history of bridge engineering demand has been always the driving force for development. A bridge is a structure which spans horizontally between supports and its construction is designed to carry road traffic or other moving loads. The analysis and compilation of this paper was done with emphasis on how the technology has grown in the construction of bridges. It was then determined that the engineering problems during the construction are inherent in every bridge. The study found out that the bridge engineering industry is facing challenges in this new era on how to support the construction of a new form of transportation. It is recommended that during the construction of the bridge that the considerations that should be made include the structure of the bridge, bridges should make the most efficient possible use of materials and that the engineers on the project need to adopt the guide specifications for design and construction of bridges and more stringent and comprehensive grouting specifications so as to insure good future performance of the bridges. This paper also puts forward the idea of developing a third-generation bridge project characterized by intelligence, development focus and plan.
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The construction of bridges turns to be of main focus in the digital world according to the human demands in this day. Such worldwide famous bridges like Golden Gate Bridge and Ponte Vecchio have been of great inspiration to the construction of other bridges due to their adaptability and even resilience. This comes with great influence on the technology used during the construction of the bridges.
This report presents how the technology used for the construction of the bridge has grown during the years and even the technologies use in the present for the construction of the bridges. The technologies used are compared depending on the construction method, construction and maintenance costs, possible disruptions during the construction period and the durability and aesthetics used. Currently there are more technologies used in the construction and even research which will help improve the technologies used in future. And also why geospatial technologies has been very useful and the advantages of the new technologies used during the construction of the bridges.
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The growth of technology over the years in this paper has been analyzed based on the centuries of various innovations.
The construction of bridges is associated with uncertainties due to the available resources, operational logistics and work environment hence the need for an appropriate technology. Due to these factors and even the availability of space has led to the advancement in the geospatial technology that is being used for bridge construction. According to Ailland et al., bridge construction sites are commonly characterized by enormous pressures for time, cost and quality achievements.
During this period bridges were built of stone or, less often wood. Iron began to be used in combination with wood. The geospatial technology majorly used during this period was majorly the use of chains in measuring the length of the bridges so as to determine the amount of material needed to be used. Things were much manual as compared to today as even the readings were taken manually. The surveyor would be called to determine the distance and this would be used to predict the amount of material needed.
During this century major development construction was done by the romans due to the invention of the arches. The geospatial technology that was used during this period was the compass in knowing the direction of one empire to another as the roman’s majorly used the bridges to connect its cites like the pons aemillus. Also the measurements to determine the shaping of the arches during this century was also the use of geospatial technology as the chains and rods would be used.
Also there, baseline schedule which was an important step that the contractor has to realistically estimate the duration of a project. The importance of this step is such that project owners can evaluate the feasibility of contractors based on that and also successful completion of the project is attributed to this step. Getting the baseline was the work of the surveyors and depending on the innovation of the telescopes at this century then it was easy to measure the length of longer baselines with the combination of the use of chains and rods.
The invention of the telescope was of great importance during this period as it formed the major part of measurement of distances through observation.
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There were no major developments during this period but one major discovery that took place was that the arch bridges which were constructed in the 18th century was found to have their own weaknesses whereby the movements suffered by arch bridges due to changes in temperature was discovered and a solution had to be developed.
During this century, bridge construction evolved and was majorly fuelled by the industrial revolution that was present at that time. At the turn of the century there was the invention of the steel bridges that were riveted together, not bolted; and the concrete bridges were being cast in place. Large bridge members were being built from lacing bars and smaller sections. Surveying was perfume mechanically as infrared, optical technology had not yet been invented.
The surveyors at this period used the mechanical levels in obtaining the elevation heights of the construction site and methods like traversing in order to get distances and bearing angles. They also used the theodolites to obtain the bearing angles that would be needed for the bridge construction. This was considered the best instruments at this time for use in the construction site.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) was also used to locate bridge working points more accurately and quickly with fewer people. This helped to reduce the amount of cost spent and also increased the efficiency of working. Also it was used in the adjustments of elevation and plan locations was made while each succeeding unit of segmental structures was being located by GPS. The construction equipment was run by computers that are directed by GPS whereby one person would monitor multiple units from a remote location through the use of video cameras and computers.
In this century, new technology has met changing needs and provided alternatives that have led to new standards in the construction and engineering works. Its economic impact on bridge construction has majorly revolved in ways of implementing its design and construction solutions through innovative thinking.
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And according to Melzner et al. (2011) The 31st International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction and Mining (ISARC 2014) Enhancing decision making on construction process strategy when the model is developed, it could be used for planning and analyses of a wide range of construction processes which comes from innovative thinking.
There has been an improved interaction among bridge design, construction and maintenance and field performance has been very essential in providing the most economical infrastructure. With the rise of human needs and inventions taking place in geospatial world it greatly influenced the construction of bridges. From the use of chains and roads in the past now it is at this period whereby the Electronic Distance Measurement instrument was developed. The EDM is based on the use of light and microwave energy.
The total station was also used for monitoring dynamic deformation of bridges. The total station provided high accuracy, automatic target recognition which provides precise target pointing. It would measure to an accuracy of angle measurement to 0.5 seconds, while rapid tracking distance measurements was accurate to 10mm+2ppm.
The measurement was to automatic target recognition of up to 200m. There was also software known as Geocom together with the total station that was invented at this era whereby it would display the angle and distance data on the screen of a laptop. This was of major impact to the construction of the bridges as it reduced the cost of labour and increased the speed of work as everything was computerized. It also provided the efficiency of work as data could be retrieved later in a working station
There were also digital levels which were being used for the determination of the desired height in the bridge and also through the determination of the height one is able to estimate the amount of materials needed for the construction.
Also the innovation of airborne scanning where pictures of the construction is taking place are taken. This has helped to reduce the amount of labour and also in saving time as one can manage various projects at the same time without being physically there. Advancement has been the rise of digital photogrametry in this century.
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Digital photogrametry has helped in the construction of bridges in positioning and location and also identifying the suitable places for the construction site. This has been embraced by most engineers in this field whereby also the pictures are taken and later being analysed in a laboratory. Finally there is the invention of remote sensing which is widely used as pictures being updated from different areas one can get and hence influenced the field of bridge construction in that the site data one can get at a press of a button without being physically there.
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Dealing with repetitive, uncertain, and dynamic features of construction projects within scheduling methods have been sources of concern in the bridge construction domain. To achieve accuracy and or successful management of bridge construction projects, then planners need to implement better geospatial technology methods. Regarding the ineffectiveness of traditional geospatial methods, civil engineers would need to seek integrated approaches using new technologies in construction management. Considering that there have been fewer studies related to implementation of geospatial technology in this domain the current study thus finds its usefulness. The study represents an innovative holistic study within the bridge construction sector that would deal with intricacies involved in construction projects management and help improve projects’ delivery.
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