Dec 16, 2020

Reducing risk: Aging infrastructure and remote construction settlement monitoring

Tyler Morency
4 years ago

Reducing risk: Aging infrastructure and remote construction settlement monitoring

The aging state of infrastructure

Last year, eight1 national infrastructure stakeholders issued a report calling for sustainable spending to replace Canada’s aging infrastructure. Called the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card 2019 (CIRC), it paints an alarming picture of core public roads and bridges in desperate need of long-term repair.  How bad is it? As much as 40% of the roads and bridges across the country are in “fair, poor, or very poor condition.” Water infrastructure, like water mains, wastewater sewers, and linear stormwater assets get the same failing grade. Most of the red-flag infrastructure (60-80% depending on the category) is over 20 years old. (Construct Connect)

1CIRC partners:

  • Canadian Construction Association (CCA),
  • Canadian Public Works Association,
  • Canadian Society for Civil Engineering
  • Federation for Canadian Municipalities.
  • Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC)
  • Canadian Urban Transit Association
  • Canadian Network of Asset Managers 
  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association.

“Reliable infrastructure connects our communities, enables our economy and protects our environment—it supports our quality of life right across the country,” said John Gamble, president and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies–Canada (ACEC), one of seven organizations supporting the report. “So, in light of these findings, Canadians should be concerned.”

Engineers Canada notes that climate change impacts the rate of infrastructure deterioration. For infrastructure built decades ago when the climate effects were not a priority, lifespan estimates must be reconsidered amid weather unpredictability. Severe weather events have become the norm, weakening the integrity of existing assets that no longer meet expected benchmarks. In 2020, Canada’s public infrastructure is at serious risk.

“Reliable infrastructure connects our communities, enables our economy and protects our environment—it supports our quality of life right across the country.”

—John Gamble, president and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies–Canada (ACEC).

Reducing risk with remote construction settlement monitoring

Repairing aging infrastructure requires rehabilitation and replacement over several decades in order to support community needs, commerce, and the environment. Roads and bridges are the key public policy items, demanding the most government attention and investment over the shortest timeline.

Real-time remote settlement monitoring provides a return on investment at many levels in several categories: Financial Officers realize the long-term value of sensor readings. Contractors and engineers look for on-site safety, planning accuracy, and productivity gains. Operations Managers and government agencies require regulatory checkmarks that come with infrastructure stability.

If policies support infrastructure repair, it is crucial that engineering calculations are validated long-term with measurable data that enables predictability and reduces risk. Real-time monitoring of construction sites adds a layer of safety for onsite crews at the time of construction and continues providing managers with accurate oversight data of how the ground is setting after infrastructure repair.

Invest in sensors to monitor and help protect structures

We no longer live in an age where we can’t measure what we can’t see. Geotechnical sensors enable data collection in real-time, creating analytics that save lives and inform proactive decisions that protect investments and the people who rely on them.

Investing in subgrade settlement monitoring is an investment in the overall lifetime integrity of new construction builds. Measurand designs and builds advanced geotechnical ground sensors that give engineers’ eyes underground and project managers crucial data about the structural health of construction projects. Settlement analytics draw a picture of what is going on under what we can see in order to improve public safety, reduce risk, and satisfy new compliance regulations.

How remote construction settlement monitoring works

Monitoring settlement under and around highways maintains traffic safety and mitigates infrastructure losses. When lateral displacement is detected where slope stability is a concern, early warnings ensure safeguards are implemented in time to mitigate risk from geohazards like landslides.

A section of highway lies collapsed after a large progressive landslide near Crookston, MN.

Retaining structures and embankments can be accurately monitored for vibration, vertical shifts, tilt, and convergence (tunnels), communicating minor movements via a number of transmission channels.

Why choose Measurand’s ShapeArray for construction settlement monitoring?

Measurand is recognized around the world for geotechnical monitoring equipment. ShapeArray™ is used for a wide range of monitoring projects, including dams, levees, embankment and slope stability, roadways, tunnels, bridges, infrastructure rehabilitation, pipelines, deep excavation work, and open-pit and underground mines.

Measurand’s ShapeArray is a user-friendly, flexible geotechnical instrument ready to measure deformation in soil and structures impacted by construction:

  • Fast, simple installation: our patented cyclical installation directly inserts into a range of casing sizes (including standard grooved inclinometer or smooth casings)
  • Narrow diameter
  • Rugged joint design
  • Generous bend radius
  • No need for time-consuming calibrations in the field
  • Several options for the automation of real-time data logging and remote data collection
  • Real-time data increases worksite information
  • Cost savings from reduced maintenance and site visitation
  • Post-construction data collection for ongoing monitoring

The patented, cyclical installation of the SAAV model ShapeArray is what makes it so easy to install. Ready to collect data in 75% less time than traditional in-place inclinometer systems, ShapeArray begins to capture real-time deformation data vertically, horizontally, or in an arc without on-site calibration required.

ShapeArray: SAAV’s patented, cyclical installation makes installation simple.

Measurand’s software tracks the medial axis in the centre of the casing in 3D to produce traditional inclinometer plots. ShapeArray™ can be installed where traditional inclinometers cannot. The cyclical installation creates a zigzag into both new and existing casings—even those that are too distorted for conventional use—which saves time and money by eliminating the need to drill new boreholes when converting from manual to automated monitoring. A spring box at the top holds the joints firmly in contact with the sides of the casing.

Wireless remote communications enable data-on-demand

Advanced sensor technology is the base of ShapeArray. But as communication technologies advance, combining shape-sensing readings with the next generation of digital node-style, long-range, low-power wireless data loggers is an exciting advancement for geotechnical monitoring.

Node-style data loggers wirelessly transmit data from geotechnical sensors to data acquisition systems (DAQ). DAQs can automate the reading of samples and configured to upload data to the web via cellular modem.

DT ShapeArray by RST Instruments enables long-range radio-telemetry and stand-alone data collection of Measurand ShapeArray™ instruments at a low cost. DT ShapeArray Data Logger integrates Measurand’s patented shape-sensing technology with the RST Instruments’ robust data acquisition suite including the RSTAR Radio and DT data loggers to increase operational flexibility.

The partnership between RST Instruments and Measurand represents a clear and simple path to automated data collection without the need to engage a third-party wireless communication vendor. Measurand’s patented ShapeArray™ along with RST Instruments’ range of geotechnical monitoring sensors can be incorporated together into a wireless, or stand-alone, data collection system by using the DT ShapeArray Data Logger.

Canadians should be concerned about the rate of deterioration of aging infrastructure and the risk it poses. For synchronized, safer worksite construction settlement monitoring over the lifetime of infrastructure projects moving forward, DT ShapeArray by RST Instruments is the device of choice to wirelessly collect high-quality data, share data in real-time, and make risk-informed cost-effective decisions.

Contact us today to learn more.

  • 1993

    The Beginning

    Measurand is established in Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • 1994

    Bend sensor development

    Measurand develops and patents fiber optic bend and position sensors for the medical and automotive sectors

    U.S. Patent 5,321,257

  • 1995

    Canadian Space Agency

    Receives funding from the CSA to develop sensor technology that ultimately leads to invention of ShapeTape

    U.S. Patent 5,633,494

  • 1999

    Patent on fiber optic sensor

    Measurand receives patent for "Fiber Optic Bending and Positioning Sensor" issued June 29, 1999

    Canadian Patent 2,073,162

  • 2001

    ShapeTape & ShapeHand debut

    Measurand designs and develops innovative motion capture technology

    U.S. Patent 6,127,672, 6,563,107

  • 2002

    Measurand Attends the ICPMG

    First contact with the geotechnical sector at the International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG)
  • 2004


    Design patent application sent about a new product designed to meet the specific needs of the geotechnical industry

    U.S. Patent 6,127,672, 6,563,107

  • 2005-08


    Measurand debuts ShapeWrap motion capture technology for the film and animation industry

    U.S. Patent 7,296,363

  • 2006

    Malibu installation

    ShapeAccelArray installed for ground monitoring for the first time​ in Malibu, CA

    Canadian Patent 2,472,421

  • 2007


    Suite of instrumentation developed for motion capture within Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines

    U.S. Patent 7,296,363

  • 2011

    SAAScan launched

    Built for rapid deployment and repeated use

    Canadian Patent 2,472,421

  • 2014

    SAAX launched

    Purpose-built for heavy-duty horizontal installation

    Canadian application 2,815,199 & 2,815,195

  • 2017

    SAAV launched

    The only geotechnical instrument with a patented cyclical installation method

    Cyclical Sensor Array, Canadian application 2,815,199 & 2,911,175