SMART HIGHWAYS MANAGEMENT: FROM CONSTRUCTION TO OPERATION – BRINGING REAL-TIME AND REALITIES TO PROJECT OFFICE AND CONTROL ROOMS

Smart Highways Management encompass Highway Construction Project monitoring to Highway Operation and Management in Reality and Realtime, using various state of the arts technology, smart and high impact technologies such as AI and IoT (Artificial Intelligent and Internet of Things) and cost effective used of Geospatial Data Capture (using UAS and other mobile or aerial vehicles).

The Smart Applications are essential to ensure cost effective Project Management and Operation costs as well timely delivery and compliance to targets and all the Governance (Regulatory and Corporate). This is achieved by capturing the sites reality in real-time (or near real-time) in most precise and most accurate, to the offices (Managers, Controllers and other Stakeholders) in the simplest of forms using GIS (for Tagging) and AR and VR Tools (Augmented and Virtual Realities).

OFO Tech offers the Integrated Solution called Reality Asset e-Information System (RÄISE) as the Highway Information Modelling (HIM) for highway construction, operation and management to documents and collect all the asset’s information regarding project with elements such as geospatial data and video progress reports, aerial survey map, 3D model of construction site, asset tagging, construction drawings overlay.

The solution enable user to monitoring in near Real-Time actual project progress report, anytime and anyplace accessible by Internet Access. Progress of project is made visible in Reality terms (2D, 3D and Actual Plans overlays) without the need for costly and time-consuming site visits. The presentation of actual and most precise information will promote transparency amongst all the project stakeholders.

OFO TECH innovativeness and impressive track records in delivery the Smart solutions has been recognised not only in Malaysia, but worldwide. We have generated a lot of Global interest when we participated in the World Exhibition in Masse in German early 2019. We received many awards and international recognition throughout our growing years such as Frost and Sullivan, SME, Newspapers and other media. We were also interviewed and featured on the cover by one of the renowned print media leader in the industry: Drone Magazine UK. Our success and stories were shared in their Winter, 2018 publication, featuring our success on Infrastructure Project Monitoring as an achievement of one of its kind in the world (see below).

Figure 1: Story published by a Drone Magazine in UK (Winter, 2018) recognising OFO Tech achievement in our recurring monthly 830km Highway Project Management. Project Management that we have reach an impressive total of 25,000km+ equivalence of more than half earth circumference

For today’s topic we are going to discuss on smart project monitoring and asset management for highway construction, operation and management. How smart, intelligent, innovative and high impact technologies can be utilised, optimised and integrated into seamless and cost-effective Smart Solution (our next Story: Smart City Solution) for the construction and highway management.

DATA ACQUISITION

IMAGE CAPTURING

To start any project progress monitoring process, we need to acquire at least two set of aerial or geospatial data or images from two different time from UAS platforms. For this particular project we are required to monitor the highway progress once a month; (the frequency maybe different depending on client’s expectation and request). And also is subjected to the type of construction project. It is also possible to monitor the progress on a weekly basis. The frequency required should be determined by amount of changes expected during the period. It should be noted that the higher the frequency monitored, the more accurate it will near to Reality and closer to Realtime (Near Realtime).  However, the more frequency of the monitoring will incur higher costs which may be detrimental of its original purpose. Based on our experience, our advice is, for a huge area of the construction, for example 500km highway, a monthly data capturing will be adequate and cost effective.

For data acquisition, our field teams will operate their data acquisition mission on selected pre-planned project areas. They will be commenced with the usual flight planning.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone is the usually the chosen platform for our data capturing. This type of drone is capable to tolerate the toughest of tasks especially for highway construction project. In practise we followed the standard requirement for overlap and lateral overlap of 80% and 75% respectively.

(this has been described in detail in previous Blog. Please refer Blog Post – Volume 2: data acquisition using drones)

DATA PROCESSING

GCP ESTABLISHMENT

Ground Control Point (GCP) is needed as we process 2D orthomosaic imagery. We picked a unique feature from the drone images as our reference points. For highway mapping, analysing the geographical surface is important before establish GCP. This is because the distance between two pinned point are depending on the condition of the road; it means, from 500m to 1km of GCP apart. (practitioner of social distancing before the MCO, aren’t they? I guess it actually work for the GCP too).

Imagine if we had to monitor more than 700km highway and the surface is not as a straight highway with a good condition, a hundreds of GCP might be produce to mosaic our set of images.

ORTHOPHOTO MAPPING

For monitoring, we processed two set of images to compare the progress of the highway construction. These images being process with the same method of orthophoto mapping like as we described before.

Figure 2: Example of orthophoto highway taken in February
Figure 3: Example of orthophoto highway taken in November

ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

Monitoring Asset Condition Assessment

Analysis for the progress of monitoring between two different orthophotos were then evaluated using Global Mapper software.

Figure 4: Changes results between two orthophotos with different time.

This is a simple view for our client to examine and evaluate their project progress based on drone images. From Figure 4, we can see the comparison by dragging left and right direction. These are the product we, at OFO Tech will assist at the end as the results were obtained.

Asset Tagging

We are also happy to share our technique and methodology for asset tagging. Asset tagging is useful in the analysis of each project. Asset tagging is applicable not just for highway construction project, but it can be used in all of our solutions for various industries (Agriculture, Telecommunication, Energy, Oil & Gas, Property Development and Construction etc).

Asset tagging in highway construction and maintenance can be categorised by two analysis types; 2D Orthomosaic Imagery and video recording by dashbond camera. For highway construction using 2D Orthomosaic Imagery

Figure 5: The highway before digitizing for asset tagging.
Figure 6: The highway after digitizing for asset tagging.

Figure 5 and Figure 6 are the example of the analysis that can be done for asset tagging. Unlike digitalization of the thematic map, asset tagging comes with more precise of detailing including bump, signboard, signage, road marker, lamp pole, guardrail, drainage, pavement marker, culvert signboard and crash cushion.

Some of the sub-criteria can be analyse manually. We also use AI and automated detector to analyse the data from visual recording either by dashboard camera or drone geospatial data specifically for tagging and inspection analysis. (Analysis video for asset tagging and inspection topic will be discussing soon on our future entry).

This asset tagging function can identify the actual potholes, foreign object, surface crack, accident spot or any hazards on the highway; these assets we classify as negative asset. Also, the benefit that we can express based on asset tagging topic is the accuracy and precision in calculating the coverage area. Every infrastructures operation and management need to timeliness intervention and to minimize their cost of operation and expenses. The availability of asset tagging information may help to precisely calculate an area, or distance or volume by using AI application. There will be tremendous cost saving in the approach. 

conclusion

Being a leading technology solution provider with expertise in fully integrated solution for construction sector, we will continuously keep an open eye to enhance our smart monitoring solution and rectified on any limitations and new challenges faced by the industry. We hope the sharing will explain what we at OFO Tech can offer as an innovative solution to monitor the progress for highway construction project and provide asset tagging to monitor and assess actual highways condition.

We have developed a proven and recognised an innovative methodology delivering the reality in details, precise, most accurate information in realtime (or near realtime). Current conventional method requires hiring of people to observe and manually collect information. This is costly and time consuming. This itself may posed a lot of problems as some of the details maybe overlook. Consequently, there may be human errors jeopardizing the quality of the results.

Our innovative and disruptive technology solution is developed to meet our own company and industry business vision. We will keep enhancing our system so that OFO Tech will remained to the be a versatile leader in Smart GeoSpatial, UAS, AI and IoT Services and Solution

There is various other solution offered at OFO Tech for construction sector and other industry sectors. Feel free to ask any question about this article, or if you would like to contact us for further discussion about these innovative solutions now or in the future. Don’t forget to subscribe! We will keep updating our website with new topic that are smarter more challenging and “Ohsem”.

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