Public safety is at risk whenever underground excavation occurs. For example, when a gas line penetrates sewer lines during trenchless horizontal drilling, there is a risk of explosion when a sewer line subsequently backs up and an attempt is made to clear the obstruction with an augur. During construction workers accidentally rupture a high pressure gas line leading to an explosion. It requires hours to identify the source of an explosion in a residential neighbourhood which caused fatalities. A project to extend a light rail transit system encounters many unknown underground utilities during construction which delay the project by one and half years. The number one cause of highway construction delays in the U.S. is missing or inaccurate information about the location of underground utilities. To address the risk of liabilities associated with unknown or inaccurately located underground utilities, contractors regularly increase bid costs by a minimum of 10-30%.
All of these things can be prevented if an accurate 3D digital twin of the underground were available. To address these challenges three organizations sponsored a concept development study by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for underground information with a main outcome being an Engineering Report. The sponsors of the OGC Underground Concept Development Study were:
Fund for the City of New York - Center for Geospatial Innovation
Singapore Land Authority
Ordnance Survey (UK)
The Engineering Report documents the progress made by the OGC and its members to build a complete situation assessment and develop a conceptual framework for action to improve underground infrastructure data interoperability. The report also identifies the most important steps to be taken next in order to develop the necessary data standards.
This led to the development of draft versions of a Model for Underground Data Definition and Interchange ("MUDDI Data Model") and an RoI (return on investment) model Cost Benefit Assessment of Subterranean Information Management. MUDDI is being developed as an interchange and integration model to support a range of critical underground infrastructure and environment information that is currently held in a wide and disparate variety of forms.
To review and assess MUDDI through actual implementations, the OGC has issued a call for participation for a MUDDI ETL-Plugfest Workshop to be held July 24-25 at the New York City Offices of the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY). An ETL-Plugfest focuses on extract, transform, and load practices and tools for the translation of data between differing formats, schemas, and environments.