Arup has been using kit from the worlds of sport and film to boost its condition monitoring service, it revealed today.
The engineering consultant uses GoPro cameras more usually associated with sports training, and area lights commonly used on set, to capture fine details of infrastructure assets.
It then uses advanced software to turn these images into models that can be compared over time to give clients an insight into where problems may occur in infrastructure.
Arup associate director Mike Devriendt said he was inspired to create the system after seeing footage recorded by colleagues skiing in the Alps.
Speaking at the Ground Engineering Infrastructure Summit in London this afternoon, Devriendt said: “We can buy a cluster of seven GoPro cameras for under £1,000 – some of the industrial equipment used by surveying specialists costs £50,000.
“We chose to go with lo-fi hardware and very hi-fi software. We have had a lot of interest and run models for High Speed 2 and Network Rail among others.”
Arup has been able to record 4km of footage in a single night shift.
Devriendt said the key to making the process viable was getting quickly from raw data to a model usable by a client. This is where the software comes in.
“Five years ago you did a condition survey at 3am in poor light conditions with an aching neck,” he added. “We are looking to minimise subjectivity and human error and give the client something more meaningful.”