Technology

Atkins uses open source geotechnical system on Lower Thames Crossing

21 September 2020

Atkins is using Bentley Systems' new cloud service that enables geotechnical professionals to access reliable geotechnical data and improve engineering decision-making. Atkins is using the service on the Lower Thames Crossing project.

Known as OpenGround Cloud, the service offers “a complete solution for planning, data entry, borehole log production, lab data management, reporting, visualisation, and more”, according to Bentley. It also “improves collaboration across multi-disciplinary project teams and significantly increases the value of geotechnical data by making it easily accessible to key project stakeholders”.

Geotechnical data is typically dispersed across various applications and devices and can be difficult to consolidate. Bentley states that with OpenGround Cloud, "geotechnical engineers can readily access reliable, high-quality current and historical geotechnical data for the modeling, simulation, and analysis of infrastructure projects’ ground conditions".

Scott Devoe, senior director, geotechnical information management, at Bentley Systems, said: "OpenGround Cloud provides a single enterprise repository of multiple data sources for all ground investigation projects – a long-sought improvement for geotechnical and geological professionals. It eliminates the need to retain copies or to exchange data and ensures that everyone in the supply chain has the correct access rights to the most current version.

"As a result, OpenGround Cloud helps minimise project delays due to encountering unforeseen ground risks during construction."

Richard O’Brien, principal process engineer with Atkins, said: "From a risk management perspective, we are now able to more easily identify the gaps in data, to highlight risk items and, if required, assist in the planning of targeted ground investigations. From the tender process, when local site data availability is limited, through to detailed design, we are now able to undertake data-driven assessments to aid in our decision-making.

"OpenGround Cloud gives us the ability to determine and cross-reference the organisation’s geotechnical parameters and correlations with those available from literature sources. Tender design is made more efficient and we can consider a wider range of site properties, leading to reductions in geotechnical risk.

"Ground investigations are planned more effectively, taking into consideration multi-discipline and multi-project data, leading to reduced costs. And detailed designs are delivered from a more complete perspective, which leads to greater value for the client."

Cedric Allenou, technical director at COWI and ground engineering lead on the Lower Thames Crossing, said: "OpenGround Cloud improved the workflow for all members of the team. The various add-ins are faster within the cloud version of the database, which is useful when dealing with large datasets such as CPT data.

"In addition, maintaining the link with the database when members of other organisations need to access the data has also improved the workflow due to the servers being cloud-based. As a result, external support teams can more easily solve issues that arise. The process allows rapid responses and minimises potential downtime on the project."