Terra incognita

Documentation of subterranean structures

Dripstone cave - Terra Incognita
Photo: P. Fischer-Stabel
Water conservation infrastructure in mining
Photo: P. Fischer-Stabel

An accident as a result of earthworks near underground cables and infrastructure is reported almost every day. According to the Employer's Liability Insurance Association of the Construction Industry, the reasons for damage to pipe networks, despite standardized installation depths and warning devices, are usually due to insufficient knowledge of the type and location of the pipes and infrastructure, inadequate determination of the location by the contractor and the unexpected presence of unlisted pipes in connection with the poor legibility of existing plans or incorrect calibration on site. In addition to the problems with underground supply and disposal infrastructures - which only occur during excavation or civil engineering work - the effects of interventions in the underground can also be seen on the surface in many places. These manifest themselves in particular through vertical movements of the terrain surfaces. Such phenomena can be anthropogenically induced (e.g. extraction of raw materials) or they can be part of natural and geogenic processes. Although we have a large number of information systems, geodata and sensor networks for monitoring and documenting the subterranean environment, it comes as a great surprise when we come across unknown pipes and infrastructure networks, hollow bodies or other structures in a supposedly undisturbed subsoil, which point to an earlier, possibly long-ago and hitherto unknown anthropogenic use of the subsoil, because it is not documented to the required extent.

The aim of the project is to work out the importance of the knowledge of the historical and recent use of the underground for space and earth sciences. This is not intended to be done in the sense of a geological inventory or suitability of the subsoil, but is designed as documentation of a significant part of the anthroposphere.

In a second step, a concept for a cross-media information system for the documentation of subterranean structures is to be developed. The latter should be able to provide the user with complete information on the subterranean structures present at the respective location on-the-fly. In addition to reducing private and economic damage, the availability of such a system creates another central added value for all parties involved through the possibility of immediate information during project planning and construction. In addition to the geotechnical consideration, the research focus is also highlighted in the context of an interdisciplinary research approach by means of relevant literary and cultural studies digressions.

Consortium Institute for Software Systems of Trier University of Applied Sciences
Duration January 2020 - December 2022

Project management at Trier University of Applied Sciences:

Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer-Stabel
Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer-Stabel
Professor FB Umweltplanung/Umwelttechnik - FR Informatik


Birkenfeld | Building 9925 | Room 149


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