The opening day of the conference, hosted by the British Geotechnical Association (BGA) and held in Edinburgh from 13 to 17 September, attracted more than 1100 attendees, making the event the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering’s largest European conference in history.
The opening ceremony featured an address from the Minister for Transport and Islands, Mr Derek Mackay MSP. Dr Chris Menkiti, Chairman of the British Geotechnical Association, presented the background of the lecture and Professor Roger Frank, the President of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, introduced Professor Soga.
Professor Soga’s lecture expanded on the conference theme of Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development to examine the importance of high-quality infrastructure for supporting economic productivity and growth, making the case for creative innovation to achieve sustainability in construction and infrastructure in an integrated way.
“New infrastructure needs to be constructed and maintained more economically and safely than before. Our existing ageing infrastructure requires a better understanding of its extent of ageing and the consequent remaining design life. There is a need to assess the safety levels in extreme events such as flooding and earthquakes. Ultimately the development of ‘smart’ infrastructure means true realisation of performance-based design and maintenance,” said Professor Soga.
Outlining key aspects of the National Infrastructure Plan and highlighting CSIC’s mission to transform the future of infrastructure through smarter information, the lecture presented the range of novel fibre optics, computer vision, LIDAR and wireless sensing technologies developed at CSIC and the industry deployments where these emerging technologies and tools were tested. Professor Soga said: “To accelerate the usage of emerging technologies, field demonstrations, such as those shown in this presentation, are essential to build confidence within the infrastructure community.”
By collaborating with a range of Industry Partners, CSIC has developed a unique delivery model for translating research into innovation in practice, enabling industry to exploit novel technical advances at the earliest opportunity.
Professor Soga explained the value and benefits available to a range of industry stakeholders, including asset owners and managers, by adopting new methods and technologies to monitor infrastructure and optimise design and performance.
“The future of infrastructure relies on smarter information; the rich information obtained from embedded sensors within infrastructure will act as a catalyst for new design, construction, operation and maintenance processes for integrated infrastructure systems linked directly with user behaviour patterns,” said Professor Soga.
“This fully integrated approach starts from designing sensor systems that provide better information for decision makers and finally enables more effective management of assets, cities and infrastructure systems throughout their life.”
The European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering is a quadrennial event in the geotechnical calendar. The next ECSMGE will be held in Iceland in 2019
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