About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents

Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By

Product Reviews
Partner Sites







Spatial Media LLC properties




Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Tunnel Vision—Excavating Subsea Roadways with Rugged Technology Print E-mail
Written by Brynna King   
Friday, 27 February 2015

A 4.904Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Workers who blast tunnels 290 meters below the ocean's surface have plenty of "what-ifs" to consider. Technology failures and project budgets shouldn't be among them. So contractors working on Norway's Ryfast tunnel megaproject are using rugged mobile technology to ensure a reliable, safe and efficient excavation process that minimizes downtime and reduces personnel costs.

Crews are using the Amberg Navigator from Swiss company Amberg Technologies AG, a solution that packages Amberg Tunnel surveying software with Handheld Group's Algiz 7 rugged tablet PC. The solution allows tunnel workers to take precise measurements, generate tunnel profile graphics in real-time, and compile detailed reports, eliminating the need for separate surveying crews. Best of all, workers can perform these tasks with no prior surveying experience and very little computer training time.

A tunnel beneath the sea
Norway's west coast is made up of hundreds of small islands and fjords--areas where seawaters reach into narrow, deep valleys with high cliffs formed by glacial erosion. People traveling to and from the coastal city of Stavanger, the country's fourth-largest metro and the hub of its offshore oil and gas industries, currently use bridges and ferries to access areas separated by water.

The new Ryfast tunnels will connect Stavanger to Norway's Ryfylke region, replacing a ferry between the two areas and cutting travel time by two-thirds. One tunnel segment will link Stavanger's Hundvĺg borough to a small island called Hidle, and a second will connect Hidle to the town of Solbakk in Ryfylke.

Upon its 2018 completion, Ryfast will be the world's longest, deepest subsea roadway tunnel, spanning 14.3 kilometers (8.9 miles) and reaching 291 meters (955 feet) below sea level at its deepest point. Swiss tunnel construction company Marti IAV Solbakk DA won a contract to build the Solbakk segment, which will include the tunnel's deepest point. It will also feature a 7 percent gradient slope--the maximum tunnel gradient allowed.

A rugged technology breakthrough
To extend the tunnel through hard rock beneath the sea's surface, Marti workers drill holes through the material in precise locations using enormous semi-automatic drill rigs. Explosives placed in those holes blast the rock away, and conveyor belts remove this material from the site.

Traditionally, hole placement for the "drill and blast" method of tunnel construction has been determined by surveying crews, who measure tunnel profiles and use this data to mark hole patterns or georeference drill rigs. But using the Amberg Navigator's automated surveying software has eliminated the need for these extra surveyors; the tunneling crews themselves can quickly and easily perform surveying tasks with detailed real-time analysis.

"The Amberg Navigator helps avoid unnecessary waiting times because the measurements required can be integrated directly into the work procedures," says Jurgen Wilhelm, a Marti surveyor engineer. Of course, such highly precise work requires a reliable computer. For Solbakk tunnel workers, reliability means two things: adequate speed and memory to process profile data, and exceptional durability in tough environments.

The engineering challenges workers face in the tunnel are amplified by the frigid, wet environment where they perform their work. The tunnel's surfaces can range from muddy and slippery to rough and jagged; temperatures can drop below freezing; and humidity, dust and potential drops all pose threats to ordinary technology. Every piece of equipment at the construction site must be able to withstand very harsh conditions.

With these requirements in mind, Amberg Technologies chose the Algiz 7 as the ideal complement to its Amberg Tunnel software. The Algiz 7 rugged tablet features a powerful Intel Atom processor, along with massive 128 GB storage capacity and 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. It runs Windows 7 Ultimate and compatible software, providing a seamless office-to-field experience.

The Algiz 7 also meets stringent MIL-STD-810G U.S. military standards for withstanding humidity, vibration, drops and extreme temperatures, and meets IP65 standards for sealing out dust and water. But despite its brawn, this rugged tablet is compact and portable, weighing only 1.1 kg (2.4 pounds). Its vivid 7-inch touchscreen displays data clearly, and 10 function buttons and an on-screen soft QWERTY keyboard make operation easy and intuitive.

A one-tablet control center
Jürgen Wilhelm, a Marti IAV Solbakk DA surveyor engineer on the Ryfast tunnel project.

With the Amberg Navigator, crews can measure tunnel profile data quickly and easily, display visualizations of that data in real time, and save detailed data logs. This solution is extremely simple to use, even without any previous knowledge of surveying. The software automates all measuring tasks, which workers can select and manage with one touch by tapping large, easy-to-interpret icons with illustrations.

"Workers can control and verify an entire tunnel project with a single tablet," says Oliver Schneider, Amberg Technologies product manager.

To take measurements, workers use a total station--an electro-optical scanning tool that measures angles, distances and coordinates. They position the total station on a tripod or console aimed toward the area to be measured. Then the Amberg Navigator communicates with the total station using Bluetooth, automatically adjusts the total station's viewing area, and initiates profile data collection.

The Navigator can automatically profile a tunnel at pre-defined stations; it highlights areas where a blast has taken away too much or too little material; and it evaluates surface-layer thickness and displays the data graphically on the screen. With this information, workers can use the Navigator to set precise blast patterns and control drilling machinery.

"The rugged tablet makes it possible for personnel from other sectors to carry out simple, routine surveying tasks reliably, efficiently and independently," Wilhelm says. Smart solutions from Handheld and Amberg are helping the Ryfast project progress smoothly and efficiently. And that's a good thing, because subsea construction workers have much better ways to spend their time than waiting around.

Brynna King is a freelance writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. She can be reached at Word Jones, www.wordjones.com.

A 4.904Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Thought Leader: Land is Too Important to Be Left to Land Specialists
A while back I was searching the Internet for an old treatise on land titles. A Google query yielded a book published in 1914. The author was Charles Claudius Kagey and the book was titled "Land Survey and Land Titles, a book for boys and girls, a reference volume for property owners, a text ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Wacker vs. Price - Irony in Sevenfold
This month's case takes us to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. The Arizona Supreme Court went all guns-a-blazin' in Wacker vs. Price (216 P.2d 707 (Ariz. 1950)). Maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing plenty of irony and have taken license to point it out along the way. I like what the Court did with this case ....
Read the Article
Allen E. Cheves 
Around the Bend - A Visit to Carlson Software
The Ohio River is one of America's greatest, running near 1,000 miles between Pittsburgh and the Mighty Mississippi. Much of the coal and other products that fueled our nation's industrial expansion flowed between the shores of this maritime ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Surveying & Mapping Economics Part 3 - Customers & Services
This article continues an inquiry into the economic conditions of the Surveying and Mapping industry (NAICS 541370) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This time we will look at customers and services. The data comes from the Economic Census conducted every 5 years on American ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
True Elevation: Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak, located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, is the state's highest natural point. It is frequently referred to as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two other peaks, Guadalupe Peak in Texas and ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Bringing The Goods - Mobile Scanning an Integral Component
When Jim Smith, Jerrad Burns and Charlie Patton left the Memphis division of a major construction company in 2015, they took with them the knowledge of how to get even the most complex jobs done and what equipment could best serve them in making that happen. So when they joined West ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Test Yourself 41: Integers, Integers, and Integers
ABF is a 5:12:13 triangle, ACF is a 48:55:73 triangle, ADF is a 3:4:5 triangle, and AEF is a 7:24:25 triangle, all with integer sides and inscribed in a semi-circle. What are the lengths of BC, CD, and DE? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Sunset or Sunrise?
While we often think of legislated government programs as static, they do change over time. Such evolution and opportunity for transformation are part of the dialogue in reauthorizing these programs. Every so many years there is a sunset on each government program, and this September is the ....
Read the Article


Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
contact Amerisurv


JAVAD Intros
Spoofer Buster

press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content


News Feeds

Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.


Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 



The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-695-1538 - fax