The GeoFuture project is a knowledge-building project for industry, which will go over the years 2011 - 2019. The project is divided into two parts, GeoFuture I from 2011 - 2015 and GeoFuture II from 2015 - 2019. The aim of the GeoFuture project is to advance the state-of-the-art of geotechnical engineering and foundations through new developments on analysis methods, 3-D data representation and system integration, validation and dissemination.

GeoFuture will supply the building, construction and transport industry with methods and tools for geotechnical design and calculations by offering complete integration of geotechnical calculations with handling of geotechnical data, selection of input parameters and 3D visualisation. A series of computer programs for stability, settlement, piles, excavation and bearing capacity calculations will be developed in the project. At the end of the project period, 3D calculation options for all computer programs will be available. The user will be able to choose to perform the calculation in 1D, 2D or 3D. The programs will integrate both limit equilibrium and finite element methods for 2D and 3D.

GeoFuture will deliver a complete and seamless solution for life cycle management of 3D data with the development of a new and open 3D data model. This model will provide integrated geo-solutions with Building Information Model (BIM) and Infrastructure Information Model (IIM), with realistic foundation geometry, spatial relationships and 3D data representation. The backdrop for this project is that civil engineering is moving towards 3D oriented design for construction and maintenance, hence geotechnical solutions must be compatible and able to interact with such models.

GeoFuture is also developing a knowledge-based system for assisting the practicing engineer to assess and verify geotechnical parameters and calculation results. This "Wizard" is a wiki-based user assistance offered in all steps of the calculations: interpretation of laboratory results and field data, selection of design parameters and the calculation and interpretation of results. A Wizard-function will be developed for all modules in the computer software.

Primary objectives and anticipated results

At the end of the GeoFuture project, research will make it possible to provide the industry with methods and tools with complete 3D visualisation and integration of geotechnical data and solutions. This approach is based on advanced calculation models able to solve different foundation problems for building, construction and transportation. The objective will be made measurable through the methods and/or tools having the potential to be commercialised.

The scope of the GeoFuture project is through theoretical developments and examples to improve the geotechnical solutions and the ICT platform for major construction and infrastructure projects. This objective requires research and development on both new and improved geotechnical solutions and new, as well as improved ICT-solutions for 3D representation, data communication and functionality.

Foundation design and ICT-specifications will be prepared to meet the requirements of the increasingly demanding solutions for industry, including international requirements and standards. This will be ensured through the active participation of the partners in the consortium.

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Verifiable secondary objective for the knowledge-building project

Three main development areas are prioritized in the GeoFuture project:

  1. Next generation 3-D data representation and system integration
  2. Development of new foundation analysis models and user-assistance
  3. Implementation and validation of new Developments.
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The components of the above three secondary objectives are to be reached in close interaction. The verifiable secondary objectives will be met during the course of the GeoFuture project:

1. Next generation 3-D data representation and system integration
  • Review of the state-of-the-art (2011) on geo-data management
  • 3D representation of data. Integrating information from geology, engineering geology, geophysical methods, geotechnical site investigations and laboratory testing following international data modelling standards (similar to SOSI in Norway). Data accessibility and communication, via distributed databases, internet communication and virtual reality solutions, will be developed. A first generation pilot exists, but it needs extensive R&D to meet new requirements.
  • Information models. Describing geotechnical foundation objects: 3-D, real-time and flexible modelling will be used to increase productivity in design and construction, resulting in integrated geo-solutions with Building Information Model (BIM) and Infrastructure Information Model (IIM). Realistic foundation geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of foundation components will be included.
  • Geometry models. 2D and 3D approaches that are compatible with existing commercial finite element models.
  • Integration. New 2D and 3D analysis methods within the Design-Construction-Maintenance (DCM) activities.
  • Knowledge-based system. Includes verification of data, interpolation/extrapolation of data, transparent and reliable statistical analyses, development of reliable correlations for control of data and selection of design parameters. Further, assistance to select for example shear strength for design, geographical mapping and global representation. The research will develop a system for integrating nationally distributed databases for geological and geotechnical data. GeoFuture will collaborate with authorities such as the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), the Norwegian Mapping Authority (Statens Kartverk) and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), which have national responsibility for geo-databases and landslide activities in Norway..
2. New foundation analysis models and user-assistance
  • Review of the state-of-the-art (2011) on 2-D and 3-D analyses for foundation design for building, construction and transportation.
  • Analysis of the stability of slopes, including effects of climate change (where unsaturated mate-rial, intense rainfall and response to earthquake represent new modelling challenges), including the risk assessment of debris flows triggered by intense rainfall.
  • Development of an effective stress soil model(s) to simulate the behaviour of Scandinavian clays, under varying effective stress conditions, including effects of pore water flow, for reliable analyses of e.g. slope instability, bearing capacity and displacements of foundations and embankments, soil structure interaction and displacements and settlements around excavations.
  • Development and implementation of three-dimensional analysis framework for foundation solutions that are compatible with well-documented commercial software.
  • Computational method for the evaluation of the potential for progressive failure with applications for practice; this topic is of great importance for countries with soft clays (e.g. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Canada).
  • Development and implementation of geotechnical expertise for the practising engineer to provide assistance in knowl¬edge-based system for the interpretation of soil parameters, simpler earthquake assessment, simpler assessment of progressive failure in a slope and comparisons of stability analyses.
3. Implementation and validation of new developments

Each of the new developments will be given a user-interface to facilitate validation and dis¬semina-tion, and the new calculation models will be compared and verified with actual design problems from Norway and abroad.

Because the role of the geo-pro¬fession in society is so important and yet underestimated, the project also includes sub-tasks on "User feedback", and "University feedback" on education and recruit-ment. This is one of the reasons why funding from the proposed budget are used for both research organizations and industry, where the research-oriented personnel in industry are also carrying out research under the leadership of NGI, SINTEF and NTNU. In addition, the universities will be asked to do benchmark testing of each of the approaches that are developed.


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