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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C547330/1
Title: Mapping the Underworld: Network
Principal Investigator: Rogers, Professor CDF
Other Investigators:
Saul, Professor AJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 27 May 2005 Ends: 26 May 2009 Value (£): 63,759
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Acoustics Construction Ops & Management
Eng. Dynamics & Tribology Ground Engineering
Pavement Engineering Urban & Land Management
Water Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Energy Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Inaccurate location of buried pipes and cables results in far more excavations than would otherwise be necessary for maintenance and repair of the ageing buried utility infrastructure (i.e. the buried pipes and cables that provide utility services, such as gas, water, telecommunications and sewerage, to homes and industrial premises). It also and creates uncertainty in the deployment of so-called 'trenchless technologies' for installation, replacement or repair of the buried utility infrastructure, which themselves would help greatly to alleviate the problems caused by digging trenches to access existing pipes and cables or install new ones. The main problem is that the vast majority of the buried utility infrastructure exists beneath roads and therefore any open (or trenched) excavation is likely to disrupt the traffic. The primary benefits of providing an accurate means of location of the buried infrastructure are, therefore, reduced direct, indirect and social costs of street works associated with installing, replacing and maintaining buried assets, the sums in each case being very large indeed. For example, the social costs of increased traffic congestion due to highway works in the UK are estimated to be between 2 and 4 billion per annum, a significant proportion of which is due to the excavation of utility trenches. The problems associated with inaccurate location of buried pipes and cables, which have been very serious for many years, and are getting progressively worse as a result of increasing traffic congestion in the UK's major urban areas as ever more cars are using the UK's roads.These problems were highlighted at the first of the workshops hosted by the EPSRC Engineering Programme Network in Trenchless Technology (NETTWORK) and subsequently at a number of meetings of interested parties (or stakeholders). Following significant lobbying by the industry and an acknowledgement of the general research needs by the government, EPSRC chose this topic to be the subject of its first Ideas Factory (or sand pit). The sand pit identified four primary needs: broadly creation of a multi-sensor location tool for application to the buried infrastructure, a means of transferring the data to a series of user-friendly maps, a study of knowledge integration and presentation (so that those people who need to use the information can do so in a co-ordinated manner and the records of any work done can be updated), and a means of `asset tagging' (similar to putting a bar code onto the pipes and cables which can be read by a scanner that sees through the ground) for the future location of the buried infrastructure. These needs are to be met by a series of four research projects that have been approved by EPSRC for funding. This network seeks to provide a means of co-ordination of these projects to meet the broad objective of 'mapping the underworld'. In so doing it seeks to interact intimately with each of the projects, while facilitating a wider direct participation from the UK and overseas.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL: http://www.mappingtheunderworld.ac.uk/
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk