General Archives - Infrastructure Digest

Using Petrography to Understand and Resolve Scaling Issues

The most common scaling mechanisms are:

• Classic freeze-thaw scaling, where sub-horizontal micro-cracks leads to loss of material by flaking.
• Micro-delaminations, where very thin layers of mortar detach in coherent sheets from the top surface.
• Mortar flaking, which involves the loss of mortar over coarse aggregate particles.

Why should you read this? Meaty, technical article on a common challenge. FCP, December 2014

Exploring the Issues of Drones and Privacy

“However, what about the short term? Such cultural changes as listed above will take time. UAV operators will do well in doing a few things that can reduce fears when drones are flown:

• Identify a drone operation correctly, so that onlookers know what is being done. For example, surveying an accident scene as just that, and not making it look as a secret spying operation.

• Make the operation look “official” (safety vests, hard hats, safety glasses, signs that ask people to stay back, yellow tape, clear UAV assembly/takeoff/landing/control areas, assign one person the role of spokesperson to answer any public questions, a sign that states the purpose of the survey, etc.). This sounds like a lot, but is cheap to implement.

• Make sure that the public knows where the camera is pointing (downward, sideways to the left, etc.).”

Why should you read this? Those pesky drones aren’t going away… Sensors & Systems, November 2014

Report: $120 billion needed annually to repair roads, bridges

“The report found about 64,000 structurally deficient bridges are still operating across the country. That is after that category shrank by 43% from 1994 to 2013 following a major federal infrastructure spending package and state efforts to target older bridge structures.
Highway and bridge estimates in the report are based on a rate of travel growth of 1% per year in vehicle miles of travel. In 2014, America was returning, for the first time since the recession began in 2008, to the level of 3 trillion miles of travel. That rebound in travel miles has been spurred in part by falling gasoline prices and increased employment.”

Why should you read this? Not exactly news, but it’s nice to have the latest proof that we work in a recession-proof industry. Roads & Bridges, December 2014

Thailand’s BTS Plans $1.5 Billion IPO for Infrastructure Fund

“Thailand’s sole elevated-railway operator, BTS Group Holdings PCL, aims to raise at least $1.5 billion next year through an initial public offering of an infrastructure fund, a deal that would ranks as the country’s largest-ever IPO.

BTS is the latest company seeking to cash in on Thailand’s sizzling stock market. Share sales this year have more than doubled to $1.7 billion, from $548 million in 2011, according to data provider Dealogic. Among the year’s IPOs were Tesco Lotus Retail Growth Freehold & Leasehold Property Fund, which raised $602 million in March, and Ananda Development PCL, which raised $183 million in November.”

Why should you read this? Something about the confluence of “country’s largest-ever IPO” and “infrastructure fund” just seems inherently interesting to me. Wall Street Journal, December 2012

The top 10 most popular Public Works magazine online articles in 2012

Why should you read this? C’mon, it’s Public Works—quick links to ten popular articles. Public Works, December 2012

Economic stress continues to weaken European infrastructure

“Fitch Ratings explains in a series of recently published reports that the prolonged economic weakness in European economies and the impact that this has on consumer demand and public sector spending continues to erode the core stability of the infrastructure sector. The medium-term prospects for specific infrastructure assets vary significantly and are determined mainly by a combination of the economic and political dynamics of the host country, the asset’s type and its relative importance and the asset’s financial and operational flexibility.”

Why should you read this? This is an abstract of several reports on the state of European infrastructure. The information may well cast a light on the coming future of American infrastructure. Reuters, December 2012

Sandy Recovery

When Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey and ravaged much of the U.S. East Coast, it changed the nature of the debate over infrastructure and how to protect lives and property. Photo: AP/Craig Ruttle.

Why should you read this? Not an article, but rather, ENR‘s special report on Sandy recovery efforts with dozens of article links in several sections. Not of interest if there is no possibility of storms in your area. ENR, December 2012

Rebel Assault Shows Assad’s Infrastructure as New Target

“The rebel Free Syrian Army says it’s changing tactics in the 21-month insurgency, moving from intensive combat in major cities to target infrastructure giving Assad’s forces an edge, like airfields. That’s driving the cost of a civil conflict estimated by the government to have caused almost $30 billion of damage. It’s also forced at least 1.2 million Syrians from their homes, according to the United Nations.”

Why should you read this? You probably aren’t dealing with deliberate attacks by rebel forces, unless you work on the Death Star—or in Syria—but it’s an interesting tactical choice that may well influence security spending in developed countries. Bloomberg/Business Week, December 2012


“Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place, respectively, and Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which ranked fifth. Düsseldorf dropped one spot to rank sixth followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva in eighth, Copenhagen in ninth, and Bern and Sydney tied for tenth place.

In the United States, Honolulu (28) and San Francisco (29) are the highest-ranking cities, followed by Boston (35). Chicago is ranked 42nd, while Washington, DC, is ranked 43rd. Detroit (71) is the lowest-ranking of the US cities that Mercer surveys.”

Why should you read this? It’s interesting, and a little dismaying, that no U.S. city cracks the top 25. Even in North America, Canada dominates. The report looked separately at infrastructure, and concluded that Singapore has the world’s best. Mercer, December 2012

The Coming Revolution in Digital Data Management

“In fact, all the digital data produced at any project phase is potentially useful for subsequent phases, especially for operators. Consider point clouds generated during pre- and post-construction laser scanning; tools that allow rapid visualization, precise measurement, and analysis of point cloud data by relatively unskilled staff are available now and becoming more powerful—surely this will lead to more efficient use of large facilities. Other data, such as buried utility locations, parts lists, construction photos, framing schematics, etc., can be equally valuable. So clearly, there should at least be a bias toward preserving the digital data created during planning and construction phases.

To index this staggering wealth of data (point clouds alone can have millions of points), an efficient method has already proven itself in GIS departments and architectural offices around the world: space. That is, by using 2D plans—or even better, 3D maps and/or BIMs—as the dominant organizing metaphor for digital project data, the data is made immediately accessible to any interested party. After all, just about anyone can use a mouse to click on a location of interest. And sophisticated users will avail themselves of all the powerful searching and filtering techniques pioneered by GIS innovators. Space is an obvious, intuitive, and powerful way to manage digital data.”

Why should you read this? Anyone involved in large infrastructure projects is either already using some form of cloud-based project organization, or is contemplating doing so. Zhong Chen, a Chicago-based surveyor, engineer, and business owner, lays out the basic concepts, why they’re important, and brings some clarity to a confusing topic. geodatapoint, September 2012

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