Throughout the preliminary soil extraction tests, the precise motion of the tower has been monitored via an array of real time inclinometers attached to the structure.
Twice a day, the site office in Pisa faxes the results of the tower's movements to Professor John Burland's office at Imperial College in London - or wherever his busy schedules takes him. He then instructs them how to proceed that day.
While preliminary soil extraction was under way, this meant instructing site engineers how much material to remove from which tube locations and in which order. No surprises was the key to this observational technique.
'We developed the command and control system during the preliminary work,' explains Burland. 'The evening report gives me an early indication of what is happening and gives me some time to think about what to do the next day.'
Visits to the site will also continue but Burland is confident that the sophisticated control system will enable him to spend a substantial amount of time with his students. 'I'm going next month and after that it will be as often as necessary - hopefully I won'tbe needed there.'