Research Topic

Sensing for Assessment, Maintenance and Management of Underground Infrastructure

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About this Research Topic

This Research Topic will be a collection of papers on the topic of sensing and assessment for the purpose of managing the condition of underground infrastructure. The emphasis is on buried utilities in an urban setting. Underground utilities comprise a set of critical infrastructure for all modern cities. ...

This Research Topic will be a collection of papers on the topic of sensing and assessment for the purpose of managing the condition of underground infrastructure. The emphasis is on buried utilities in an urban setting. Underground utilities comprise a set of critical infrastructure for all modern cities. They carry drinking water, storm water, sewage, natural gas, electric power, telecommunications, steam, etc. In most cities, the underground infrastructure reflects the growth and history of the city with many components aging, in unknown locations with congested configurations and in unknown condition. Managing this infrastructure is a vital component of public health, commerce, future development and overall functioning of the city. The tasks of management fall onto a mix of government utilities, private enterprises and citizens. Failures and disruptions are costly to repair, especially in unplanned emergency and disaster situations.

Sensing and assessing the state of the underground infrastructure is an essential ingredient for effective management. A smart city approach to underground infrastructure is to use sensing and information technology to determine the state of infrastructure and provide it in an appropriate, timely and secure format for the managers, planners and users. The sensors include ground penetrating radar, buried sensors, robotic inspectors, drone based sensors, optical techniques, GPS, vehicle-based leak detectors, construction equipment, etc. A high-speed telecommunications network may collects the data. Information processing techniques convert the data in information-laden databases for use in analytics, graphical presentations, metering and planning.

Moreover disaster-resilient smart underground infrastructures are increasingly being developed in prone areas. For instance, in the case of strong earthquakes, real-time monitoring of ground acceleration and structural response of underground facilities may be associated to early-warning systems for operational activities. Improving the reliability of emergency stop systems against false alarms requires sophisticated sensors and acquisition systems. In addition, underground facilities may suffer severe damaging under severe seismic events. In this case, measurements of parameters of interest (such as: permanent ground displacements after earthquake, tunnel or pipeline strain and bending, post-seismic leakage detection) can be necessary for post-earthquake remedial strategies.

We encourage manuscripts centered around:
• Location methods – ground penetrating radar, magnetic, acoustic
• Leak detection methods – acoustic, trace gas, metering, plugging and backflow detection
• Smart pipes – embedded sensors, RFID methods, electromagnetic tagging
• Robots – in-pipe robots, automated above-ground methods
• Sewer system considerations –
• Buried electric power lines – high-voltage with liquid insulation, medium-voltage
• Lifetime estimates and prognostic methods
• Network level assessments
• Seismic tomography and monitoring in underground structures
• Structural monitoring of tunnels in urban environment during earthquakes
• Earthquake Early-Warning systems for underground structures (tunnels, pipelines)


Keywords: Underground Infrastructure


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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