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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information
 

The latest in CSIC’s monthly series of Smart Infrastructure blogs makes the case for data as an engineering tool.

The blog, titled ‘Data curation – the gateway to a better built environment’ points to the need for a more resilient, resource-efficient and sustainable built environment: “Faced with the climate emergency and extreme weather events, the built and natural environment is under increasing strain and resilient infrastructure is needed to provide services on which society depends.”

Simply collecting data will not yield value – engineers and asset owners must make sense out of sensor data and understand how it can be used to gain insights to make smarter, safer, better decisions. Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran, co-founder of tech start-up BKwai

Written by Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran, co-founder of tech start-up and CSIC spin-out BKwai, and an Engineering Fellow based at the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge, the blog highlights the work of CSIC that demonstrates the value of data as an engineering tool for better decisions to improve the performance of our infrastructure. While the abundance of data and development in sensor technology provide engineers with more tools for multimodal built environment monitoring and measuring, access to more data does not deliver benefits immediately: “Simply collecting data will not yield value – engineers and asset owners must make sense out of sensor data and understand how it can be used to gain insights to make smarter, safer, better decisions.”

Here lies the challenge: “Manual analysis of data by human operators is not efficient, except for very limited tasks, because the quantity of data is so vast and associated labour significant. The only feasible approach to enable data processing is large scale automation, fusing together remote sensing data analysis with domain understanding.” But in order to realise the benefits of insights delivered from big data, there needs to be greater attention paid to curation and management. Applying diligence and order to ‘data housework’ will provide the required building blocks for big-data analysis, models, analytics and data mining that create valuable insights to better inform decision-making for a smarter and more sustainable built environment. 

Read the Smart Infrastructure Blog ‘Data curation – the gateway to a better built environment’ here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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