3D Visualization of Tunnelling Construction using a Construction Synthetic Environment

Our research aims at developing highly interactive and inter-operative applications for use in complex simulation environments. Its goals are to develop a suite of modeling, simulation, and analysis tools for: (1) the planning and management of construction projects throughout their life phases from conception to operation, (2) the training of construction personnel, and (3) the exploration of construction management best practices.

To facilitate these distributed simulation and industrial applications, we have been focusing on frameworks for Construction Synthetic Environments (CSE), which integrate multiple individual simulations using High Level Architecture to achieve comprehensive, extensive modeling of an industrial application. One such application is tunnelling.  The Tunnelling CSE  is based on our experience with the construction domain – tunnel simulation in this case – our findings related to the applicability of the High Level Architecture in construction simulation, and the developments of COSYE framework.  The CSE is composed of a number of individual simulations that collaborate to achieve comprehensive and extensible modeling of the entire tunnelling project.  The development of this CSE demonstrates a number of important features not readily available in the simulation systems of today including concurrent and collaborative development of large scale systems, distributed simulation, integrated simulation systems and real time visualization. Future developments will include sophisticated techniques for forecasting and tracking tunnel construction, as well as expansion of its 3D visualization capabilities.

The student’s role will be to familiarize him or herself with the tunnelling CSE, the concept of High Level Architecture, and the existing visualization faculties.  The student will then assist in furthering those faculties:  some possibilities include adding to the existing 3D model library, developing model textures through site visits, assisting in the development and integration of a 3D animation engine with the tunnelling CSE through TCP/IP, and exploring the possibilities of gaming engines.  The student will be encouraged to choose an area of focus and develop expertise in that area.  Because of the nature of HLA, the visualization component will be reusable in multiple CSEs once developed, and has the potential to be an extremely valuable contribution to both our research program and the construction industry as a whole.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Simaan M. AbouRizk


Shreedhar Hardikar



Engineering - civil


Construction and infrastructure


University of Alberta


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