Friday, December 17, 2010

Impact of Information Technology in the field of Civil Engineering

 Impact of Information Technology in the field of Civil Engineering

What is the need for IT in Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineering has a multi-physics character, and is often very complex due to modeling uncertainties, stochastic variations of data, etc. Instabilities in both the physical problem and in numerical analysis procedures are real problems to overcome. Need for optimization is obvious.

Laboriousness of hand calculations and the lack of adequate design time leave the engineer with little opportunity to exhaustively explore and compare design alternatives. Thus it may take several projects over a long period of time before he gains sufficient experience and begins to get a feel for the impact that a given change will have on the final design.

Also, the accuracy required in  the   analysis & interpretation of field data by conventional methods have found to be wanting in various respects. Traditional hand methods generally do not lend themselves readily to obtaining  information such as exploring the various conditions and parameters, verifying the correctness of the model, soundness of the design concept in a timely manner.

On the other hand, by taking advantage of the speed of computer analysis, the engineer can explore a greater number of design options in a short period of time, allowing him to make immediate comparisons and see the impact of each

decision. He is able to go through the design process many more times than was previously possible. In this way he can begin to develop engineering judgment and a sense of structural behavior over the course of a single project, rather than having to await the accumulative experience of several projects.

How does IT help in Design & Modeling?

IT can help engineers to produce better designs that are almost impossible to produce manually and to eliminate dubious options during the conceptual design phase. The biggest contribution of computers to the design process is soft prototyping - the process of creating a 3D computer model of a design that can be subjected to computer-based testing.


CAD systems permit the rapid generation of models of proposed designs as wire-frames. The computer memory stores details of all the geometric data to define each part of the frame. From the dimensions of the components, the computer will calculate surface areas, volumes, weights for different materials, center of gravity, moments of inertia and radii of gyration; it can also use the applicable value for stress and other calculations, which are necessary part of design.

T-Beam Design   

The solid modeling created in CAD can be transferred to a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) program, which will then verify whether the suggested design will be capable of supporting the expected loads.

 Auto Cad

AutoCAD is an interactive drawing system designed to permit a user to construct or edit a drawing on a graphics display screen. Within the AutoCAD development environment, you can design realistic, accurate, two-dimensional drawings and three-dimensional models. AutoCAD is used extensively in fields ranging from architecture and mechanical design to plant design, mapping and 3D Modeling.

CAD Model 
AutoCAD is a detailed civil drawing environment with data extraction tools developed specifically for assisting in manufacturing. There is also a complete dimensioning mode that automatically defines dimensions simply by picking endpoints, angles, radii, or diameters. AutoCAD also has a rich set of commands for working in three dimensions such as changing your viewpoint, adding multiple view ports for different perspectives, giving various tools for creating 3D geometries and a sophisticated rendering engine.

Autodesk Architectural Desktop.

Designing with lines, arcs, and circles will get you where you want to go. But architectural objects can get you there even faster. Autodesk Architectural Desktop software’s intelligent architectural objects-such as stairs, curtain walls, and roofs-behave according to real-world properties, so they automatically update whenever you make a design change. Use these objects in 2D or 3D to create a single building model. This building model is your single data set from which you generate all project documents: scheduling information, elevations, plans, and sections. All information throughout the building model is dynamically linked, so you’re creating the data only once-which cuts cycle time and reduces the potential for costly errors. 

Virtual Reality Modeling Language 

VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) is an international standard for describing 3-D shapes and scenery on the World Wide Web. VRML technology has very broad applicability, including web-based entertainment, distributed visualization, 3-D user interfaces to remote web resources, 3-D collaborative environments, interactive simulations for education, virtual museums, virtual retail spaces, and more. VRML is a key technology shaping the future of the web

VRML: Residential Area 

3D Visualization & Animation Techniques

This module provides a variety of visual techniques, such as digital images, 3D graphics, and animation.  In Geographical Interchange Format (GIF) animations, several frames are displayed in a rapid succession, which creates the illusion of movement.

Theory Behind Shear Reinforcement 

Above figure shows a few GIF frames for shear failure animation. A series of frames were created and displayed in a rapid succession (using 0.25 to 0.5 second intervals) to create the illusion of beam shear crack propagation. This shear failure animation helps us to understand the theory behind the use of shear reinforcement (stirrups) in a reinforced concrete beam.

GIF Frames of Concrete Beam 

What is the role of IT in Surveying?

It  often happens that an engineering project such as a dam, tunnel, highway, etc have to be placed on a site which is not favourable. It is therefore essential that engineers  should have proper knowledge of the site conditions. In fact  all field surveys begin with preparation of  topographic base maps showing elevation contours for which surveys are carried out in difficult terrain using equipments that are not only tedious to use but also cumbersome to carry.

But with the advent of IT sector several softwares have helped to carry out these surveying works and finalizing the site or alignment with more comfort such as aerial surveys, satellite imageries, etc.



Geographical Information System

GIS is a "computer system for capturing, managing, integrating, manipulating, analysing and displaying data which is spatially referenced to the Earth."
In broad terms, a Geographic Information System could be defined as a set of principles and techniques employed to achieve one (or both) of the following objectives:

First, finding suitable locations that have the relevant attributes. For example, finding a suitable location where an airport, a commercial forest or a retail outlet can be established.

Second, querying the geographical attributes of a specified location. For example, examining the roads in a particular locality, to check road density or find the shortest path, and so on.

3D-GIS visualization of tunnel 

Remote Sensing 

Remote sensing is the study of phenomena sensed from air or satellites. The use of remote sensing provides engineers with an opportunity to interpret data as seen from space. This facility is particularly useful in surveying very large areas at relatively little cost. Remote sensing is therefore widely used in such locations as the arctic zones, deserts, forested areas, marshlands and mountainous regions, where small-scale maps of an adequate quality can be reproduced relatively cheaply from satellite images. In general, remote sensing is suitable for studying extensive areas with difficult or inhospitable terrain, or where conventional surveys may be very costly.

How does IT help in Project Management?

Successful Construction Project Management is not only critical to the success of the project engineer, construction manager and the contractor, but reduces overall costs to the owner. Modern construction presumes an in-depth understanding of the theory and techniques associated with computer-based planning, analysis and control. There are practical oriented, construction project-planning, management and control IT tools emphasizing network-based tools, time-money analysis and standard quantitative and qualitative techniques.


PRIMAVERA: Personalized Retrieval and Indexing of Media Assets in Virtual Environments for Real-time Access - is the guide to professional management of business repository and of management applications

The PRIMAVERA system comprises:

  1. Project Management
  2. Dissemination of results, conversation with other projects, and standardization
  3. Exploitation of the project results
  4. General system design, specification of the interfaces, and system integration
  5. Development of Advanced indexing and retrieval techniques
  6. Development of User Profile generation and management
  7. Development of new User interfaces and visual interaction paradigms

How can IT help in maintenance?

Information Technology has also found applications in post commission period of the project. IT can provide easy access to various statistics, drawing & various other data concerning the project. Self check tools can identify the problems in various systems like fire fighting, air conditioning & can automatically inform concerned service provider. IT can also help in prompt reporting of problem & its rectification.


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