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Data management


With the sixth and final phase of ground investigation completed, the CTRL geotechnical database now holds around 5,900 CTRL and 2,700 third-party 'holes'.

The number of hard copy reports for the six CTRL phases alone approaches 500 volumes. Faced with such a forest of paper, it was inevitable that an electronic data management system would be needed.

The vast amounts of ground investigation data was supplied in electronic AGS format, which was then manipulated and stored using the SID geotechnical database software supplied by MZ Associates.

Data is accessed using simple, menu query screens. Primary selection is by borehole, selected by number, grid location or chainage.

Secondary selection is by stratum, which can use either GEOL_GEOL, which is the code given to the geology of the horizon or by GEOL_STAT, which is used to define the material type. The choice of a two-part code made up as geology_material, for example LC_CL (London Clay_clay) or WRB_SA (Woolwich and Reading Beds_sand), allowed this facility to be used throughout the project. Further selection is also possible on any field in the database by the use of a query window.

Relevant data can be extracted from the database and exported in a wide selection of pre-defined formats, including user-definable borehole logs, more than 50 pre-formatted geotechnical parameter distribution graphs, contour maps of any data variable, 3D surface diagrams and cross-section CAD drawings showing borehole 'sticks' containing geology and parameter value tables.

On site, field engineers can also access borehole information using SID.

Although hard copy remains the definitive source, the electronic format lends itself to easy distribution to CTRL 'customers' and even the British Geological Survey.

Phil Ramcharan, RLE ground database manager

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