Bridges

Cover of Beyond Data Collection: Bridge Inspections in the Digital Age
Beyond Data Collection: Bridge Inspections in the Digital Age
  • Publication no: ABC2017-152-17
  • Published: 26 April 2017

Collecting, processing, and administering data from bridge inspections underpins bridge lifecycle management. Although, the inspection process and identification of material defects is well defined and documented, little guidance is given on systems for data collection and management.

Erasito Beca Consultants Ltd was commissioned by the Fiji Roads Authority in late 2015 to undertake a rapid inspection of more than 1,200 bridges in Fiji’s road network. A flexible and easy to use system for rapid collection of well-structured and high quality data was needed. Moreover, we required a system that would aid management and review of the collected data. No legacy system was in place, so this made possible the consideration of options to use a state of the art system which is now available.

We adopted a modern hosted system using smartphones for input to a cloud based data management platform. It has capabilities greatly exceeding those typically used for bridge inspections in New Zealand and Australia. Data collection systems need to be flexible, intuitive, integratable and tailored to the inspection environment, and client requirements. Close collaboration between all parties is desirable to maximize benefits and avoid issues. Technologies are constantly developing, therefore organisations and processes need to be adaptable. The process of transitioning to new systems must be well managed to get buy in from all involved parties. We also found that engineers who collect and work with inspection data are more engaged and satisfied when equipped with modern and state of art systems.

This paper describes how a modern data collection system was implemented for bridge inspections in Fiji. It describes the implementation process and its challenges, and discusses possible future developments.