Underground Infrastructure Visualization Through Dataset Integration

EarthVision used to visualize and analyze the geology surrounding a tunnel entrance.

EarthVision used to visualize and analyze the geology surrounding a tunnel entrance

Developing and monitoring an underground infrastructure can be a challenging task due to the lack of ability to constantly observe below the surface. Determining the ideal infrastructure location, work zones, networks, and grids can be simplified through the visualization of the associated underground data.

With various types of surface and subsurface data involved, the resulting analysis can take many different directions. The platform to integrate and correlate these datasets together is essential in extracting an efficient analysis for underground infrastructure visualization.

Understanding Underground Infrastructure Data Types

Underground infrastructure data are of great importance to government agencies and commercial industries involved in mining, tunneling, water supply, and oil and gas projects. For better understanding, these industries may require various types of surface as well as subsurface data derived from various geological, topographical, and seismic surveys. Major data involved include:

  • Wellbore data can be analyzed to understand subsurface characteristics and the presence of existing infrastructure.
  • Satellite or aerial imagery can identify and track surface changes and obstacles.
  • Topographical and terrain data can be used for detecting geographical features like rivers, lakes, and mountains, and locating surface infrastructures such as roads, power lines, or buildings.
  • Seismic datacan display events of noise or vibrations underground.
  • Remote sensing data can highlight obstacles and identify elevation point measurements.

With an effective data integration and visualization platform, these associated data types can be integrated and mapped to visualize an extensive 3D model—which can be used by decision-makers to analyze underground features and derive critical project planning and implementation conclusions.

Visualization for Efficient Monitoring

The planning, designing, construction, maintenance, and monitoring phases of underground infrastructure can greatly benefit from 3D visualization. With the help of efficient data integration and visualization software, asset teams can benefit in the following ways:

  • Understanding the geological and reservoir boundaries will allow engineers to make efficient well planning.
  • 3D geological models can help visualize and analyze rock distribution, hydro-geological properties, crustal stress, and rock stability.
  • Integration of surface and subsurface data facilitates buffer analysis which is essential for land planning including, identifying lease and property boundaries and resource allocation.
  • Rock composition and potential hazards at the working faces can be analyzed for a safe and controlled construction process.
  • Teams can be prepared for dynamic disasters with accurate visualization and analysis for roadway and working face support.

3D visualization is also increasingly being utilized in urban planning where utility mapping and monitoring can prove essential for regular maintenance and in case of occasional utility strikes. Defense and intelligence organizations can use underground infrastructure visualization technology to identify tunnels used for concealment, weapons storage, smuggling, human trafficking and other clandestine purposes.

Cutaway view of a hillside with a subsurface tunnel exposed.

The above rendering in CoViz 4D depicts the cutaway view of a hillside with a subsurface tunnel exposed. Data source: Grigsby, Shane, 2013, Leaf-on LiDAR point cloud for solar site assessment of the CU-Boulder campus, Department of Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder, digital media. Cave model: EarthVision by Dynamic Graphics, Inc.

Softwares such as CoViz 4D and EarthVision facilitate effective visualization of underground infrastructure. These platforms facilitate 3D subsurface mapping by easily integrating subsurface data and presenting them in a simplified format. CoViz 4D, specifically, integrates interdisciplinary data types in a single environment which equips engineers and team members with the information necessary to make decisions on safe, productive, and cost-efficient operation.

Underground Infrastructure Visualization with CoViz 4D

CoViz 4D is a single geospatial platform that can simplify the process of underground infrastructure visualization. By importing new and existing data and models—including LiDAR data, satellite, and hyperspectral imagery—CoViz 4D can integrate multi-component spatial and temporal data for comprehensive visualization of surface and subsurface parameters. The possibility of 3D or 4D visualization allows easy monitoring of mass movement, density changes, and vibration. Asset teams can make an efficient analysis based on the visualization ability and make decisions on project construction, operation, and maintenance while reducing damage and increasing safety.

CoViz 4D, and EarthVision from Dynamic Graphics Inc., are tools that give users the ability to easily integrate the associated surface and subsurface data to create a comprehensive 3D model. Powerful underground visualization capabilities enable you to develop, construct, monitor, and maintain the infrastructures. To learn more about CoViz 4D or EarthVision, contact our team.

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