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Field data capture – completing the circle 

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“Typically, to close a road and mark-out a 5km stretch of dual carriageway for defect repairs would take three shifts of 8 people and cost between £3k and £10k depending on the size of the job. Using KOREC Roadway functionality, we can now achieve the same amount of work in just one shift saving us around £20k on each 5km stretch.” 

Michael Ambrose (Technical Lead on the National Highways Concrete Roads Programme) 

Field data capture - Completing the circle

In our series of articles examining the trial and adoption of innovative digital technology by National Highways as part of their Concrete Roads Programme, we have already taken a close look at Mobile Mapping for large volume data collection and use of the online KOREC Portal for managing and sharing data. In this, our third article, we will be moving out of the office and back into the field to establish how National Highways has created a full circle of field/office digital data flow using KOREC’s Roadway field data capture system.  

This handheld solution comprises a Trimble Catalyst GNSS (a low cost, on demand, cm accuracy GNSS) and KOREC Roadway (industry specific data capture software) running on a Trimble TDC600 rugged handheld. Three systems were purchased for use by National Highways supervisors during the trial.  

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Trimble Catalyst GNSS used in conjunction with KOREC Roadway data capture software running on a Trimble TDC600 logger 

Efficiency, digitisation and innovation 

Putting an end to a pen and paper approach, National Highways required its new digital field data capture workflow to tie in with the project’s larger overall themes of greater efficiency, creativity and innovation as well as the more specific aims of a BIM modelling approach to road maintenance that would see their mobile mapping data populated with intelligent field-based information. This would provide them with scope for both greater efficiency in existing applications and the development of new and experimental ones.  

The system was therefore developed to be fit for purpose in a number of ways:  

Accurate defect location 

Before: Previous methods of working had involved the location of potholes/defects etc marked on a strip map with a corresponding chainage to locate them. Using a road wheel, the contractor would then attempt to locate the correct defect but this often proved problematic. For example at night, or because some defects are quite subtle and hard to detect visually or because the road wheel hit a bump and span randomly putting the measurements out. The inexactness of the method meant that on occasions shift teams of up to 20 could be called off site or even fix the wrong defect which would then require the time and attendant traffic management for a second visit. Additionally, sometimes the contractor would find the defect but because of the delays between the defect repair being designed and the work carried out (often months) the repair design would no longer be relevant and a paper report of the changes would have to be prepared for the office and sent back for verification.  

After: Out on site, all defect and repair information (based on the high-quality imagery collected by the mobile mapping survey) can be downloaded wirelessly onto the TDC600 logger with on-board KOREC Roadway software. All defect information comes with both a chainage and coordinates supplemented by a navigation tool specially developed by KOREC. This augmented reality navigation tool uses the cm accuracy positioning provided by the Catalyst GNSS and works by simply holding up the handheld which then projects the defect onto the position on the road where it physically exists allowing the contractor to walk towards it. In addition, to make things even more straightforward, a new button on the software allows the user to rotate the map in the direction that the user is walking.  

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