The National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models of the University of Costa Rica (LanammeUCR) is an academic entity dedicated to investigation; it is assigned to the School of Civil Engineering. LanammeUCR, in conjunction with StartX Consulting, developed a technological project aimed at the optimization and simplification of the evaluation process of bridges. It was developed to allow for the interactive and dynamic communication of the main results of inspections made to these structures.
“LanammeUCR’s principal objectives consist in the protection of human life as well as the safety of investments made in civil, road, and vital line infrastructure. Its work contributes to the better quality, cost reductions, and expansion of innovation technology from the perspective of modern engineering, essential for a key sector of the economy.”
As part of the project, a mobile application was developed. This allowed for the collection of inspection data using a cloud service to send the information. A web application was also developed, permitting the visual representation of results obtained from inspections that have already taken place.
The project presented an opportunity to improve the bridge inspection process. The results from these evaluations are essential for the creation of maintenance plans and bridge replacements across the national road grid.
Inspections in the field were performed using a series of thorough forms, yet all of these were in paper format. This meant that the generation of reports (based on the information collected during inspections) on the state of a bridge took a very long time. There was also the arduous task of matching a photograph (of hundreds taken) to a specific observation on the paper form.
It was also very difficult to monitor a bridge’s condition across time because its information was simply not at hand. The generation of statistics and reports in regards to the conditions of bridges was a complicated task due to the manual analysis of the data.
Another issue that LanammeUCR had was the lack of swift access to information because of the somewhat scattered preservation of data. The former as well as the latter meant that decision making at LanammeUCR was a complicated process.
In conjunction with LanammeUCR, StartX developed an application aimed at the optimization of the bridge inspection process: InspectorUP. Furthermore, a Web application was developed, allowing for the visual and structured representation of the data collected during inspections.
In order to optimize and digitalize the actual inspection process, a mobile application for tablets was developed. This aids engineers in the collection of infrastructure data, allowing for the pinpointing of details using a digital guide. At the end of the inspection, the data registered through the application is synchronized with a server, effectively centralizing the all data of every inspection that has taken place.
Simultaneously, a web application was developed. This displays, in a structured manner, all the inspections that have been performed, all registered findings, their severity, and the audio recordings or visual evidence associated with each finding.
The application serves various purposes:
Another available option in the application allows for a finding or observation to be added to any particular place on the bridge’s blueprint. This simplifies the process of identifying the location of specific damage, an option that accelerates the whole process of report generation. Experts can now easily identify the evidence of the findings and listen to the audio recordings the inspector made at the time of inspection.
Some of the main benefits of the tool StartX developed for LanammeUCR include the real-time sharing of information pertaining to inspections. This data is essential for the development of maintenance plans and replacement of bridges across the national road grid.
Having thorough knowledge of the state of bridges is vital for the country’s economy. It allows for the adequate preparation of maintenance plans as well as reduces the risk of route closures in the national traffic grid.
LanammeUCR can now perform bridge inspections in a swift and efficient manner with the help of this new tool. More bridges can now be assessed in less time.
After the development of this application, LanammeUCR is now in possession of a centralized and digital database of bridges located in the national traffic grid. The state of these bridges and any findings registered throughout time are also included in the database. All this information will contribute to improving the decision making process in the future, making suggestions, preventing bridge collapses, supporting the country’s growth, and protecting human lives.
“For example, if we were to perform an inspection today and after one year we came back to the same bridge, any changes would be easily observed. If there has been any maintenance, any change in its condition or if it’s good state remains intact, etc.”, comments StartX’s CEO, Yeudy Molina.
As more bridges are inspected, the information will come to be visually represented in a map, effectively displaying the state of bridges across the whole of Costa Rica.
“The general condition of each bridge will be presented as a kind of traffic light: red in critical state, yellow in need of attention, and green in good condition. Eventually, they will be able to see which areas of the country require immediate attention”, comments StartX’s CEO, Yeudy Molina.
Yeudy Molina also mentions that StartX Software Consulting’s focus is to help visionary firms. This is the type of client that obtains the greatest value from StartX’s services, simplifying and optimizing their business management in a profitable manner.
By working in tandem with clients, StartX’s team develops the projects they have in mind. This ultimately translates into the development of customized software or applications for business management, improving processes through the better use of information. The latter then leads to cost reductions and, at the same time, allows managers to make better decisions.
You can read all the different news articles written in relation to the system by clicking on the following link: Application News.
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