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Geotechnical data management at the Virginia Department of Transportation.
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    Final report
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  • Abstract:
    This report describes the development and implementation of the geotechnical data management system at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The purpose of this project was to develop a practical, comprehensive, enterprise-wide system for entry, storage, and retrieval of subsurface data. The resulting product satisfies the work flow requirements of VDOT and streamlines the delivery of geotechnical information. Main components consist of gINT software for geotechnical data processing and the ESRI Arc Internet Map Server (ArcIMS) for distributed GIS data delivery via a web browser. These programs are currently widely adopted by the geotechnical and GIS user community. Custom command scripts and configuration files were developed in the form of an extensible applet framework called GDBMS (Geotechnical Database Management System) to manage and process geotechnical data. The project was built on the extensive interaction among VDOT geologists, engineers, and information technology personnel. Their expertise was harnessed to create a system that is user-friendly, rugged, relatively easy to maintain, and capable of delivering the required data in a consistent format across operating divisions. GDBMS is flexible enough to be employed by both VDOT designers and VDOT consultants (free access is provided to these groups). Its greatest advantage is that it greatly improves the efficiency of geotechnical data management and delivery on large transportation projects, typically those initiated under Virginia's Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995. A free customized set of support files can be downloaded from the website of VDOT's Materials Division for use on all VDOT projects. The study recommends that GDBMS and the associated methodology be mandated for use on all VDOT geotechnical projects. Cost savings associated with fully implementing this system are expected to be of long-term duration, resulting primarily from the increased efficiency of data entry and retrieval. It is conservatively estimated that the labor cost savings would be approximately $600 for each average small-to-mid-size bridge project. GDBMS can be applied to all bridge subsurface data currently processed by VDOT. Truly significant savings can be realized on large new projects planned in the vicinity of the existing infrastructure, where the proximate subsurface data are already available. Additional exploration is often very expensive, with many over-water drilling projects costing more than $10,000 per day to carry out. GDBMS can provide a more detailed picture of local conditions, and its use can reduce the need for drilling additional boreholes, thus minimizing the overall cost of subsurface exploration.
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