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AssAZAx: Innovation Methodology for Ground Subsidence Monitoring (The Assessment of small displacements Along Zed Axis)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AssAZAx (AssAZAx: Innovation Methodology for Ground Subsidence Monitoring (The Assessment of small displacements Along Zed Axis))

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

"The AssAZAx (Assessment of small displacements Along Zed Axis) project was dedicated to get the magnitude of small displacements along the Z axis (displacement in the direction of the earth's gravity) on the complex market of ""3D displacements monitoring"".

The precise and complete monitoring of the 3 components of any displacements that may affects any ""civil facilities"" is of prime importance for safety and is a major concern for institutions and citizens. The design of a new System (Device and Software) that solve these ""geodesists problems"" offers the possibility to completely know in absolute the displacements of all infrastructures. In particular, any European Transmission System Operator (TSO) (e.g.: RTE, Terna...) highlights strong needs and interests to get in Real Time the absolute 3D components of any of their infrastructures displacements.

The AssAZaX principal goal is to use the single measurements coming from the custom Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) sensor systems, already realised by the company, with the development and implementation of a software that provide as outputs the absolute 3D deformation components. The typical movement sensors, such as inclinometer or accelerometer, are thus integrated by new high-resolution GNSS MEMS sensors (L1 Global Navigation Satellite System). In these premises, the development of a new monitoring solution composed of MEMS sensors and a new software for data processing and visualisation is a pretty good and interesting result to TSO End-Users."
The project, after facing the problem and planning the solutions from the theoretical point of view, was aimed to convert this solution on behalf of sensor data fusion. More specifically the guidelines were related by combining the high-resolution Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors with the Real-Time Kinematics (RTK) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) relief technique. The integration of these two methods contribute to the strong improvement of the static measurement of the vertical component of the movement.
Furthermore, the project has provided some deliverables related to ITC integration between the GNSS custom receiver and the prototype sensor;
these work packages have included also the integration with open source software widely used by the GNSS scientific community and at the state-of-the-art like, among the others, the RTKLIB framework for the post-processing of GNSS data. The latter had been a mandatory task, to achieve the results required for the monitoring of any displacements at a resolution comparable with the other type of sensors involved. An important phase, moreover, has regarded the testing of the accuracy of GNSS mass market available, related to the integration hypothesis foreseen in the project solutions.

The development of a fully integrating GNSS data solution acquired by our prototype device is now in an advanced state of experimentation on the field. The stream of data acquisition, sanitizing, processing and storing, have required the analysis and the development of ITC custom solutions. The different developed routines were integrated with those of the software prototype solution to produce the best inputs to the network sensor model. The data streaming from sensors, in different configurations, has been analyzed and optimized to align the IT architecture to support solutions with storage flexibility and easily scalable (e.g. the cloud solutions).

The first exploitation results of our new monitoring platform consist on the precise determination of the vertical elevation (accuracy and precision of the altitude) of the Garigliano Power Station (Southern Italy) for ABB Spa Company.

The dissemination activities of AssAZAx preliminary results had been presented in the following major events and workshops:
- 63° Convegno Nazionale SIFET 20-22 June 2018 Gaeta – Italy;
- IX Borsa della Ricerca 28-30 May 2018 Fisciano – Italy;
- Notte dei Ricercatori University of Calabria 28 September 2018 Rende – Italy;
The software platform, the custom sensors and data fusion solutions, improved seriously the displacement monitoring approach, allowing us to positively evaluate our future realization and market opportunities of this custom highly reliable solutions that have accessible costs, which is fully interconnected and is so easy and quick to settle compared to pre-existing solutions for the same market.
After many tests in different extreme conditions, the observed results are considered satisfactory and coherent with the expected operational monitoring applications for those sensors. The methods developed herein combine different types of sensors to reconstruct a geometry of displacements with a reliable accuracy; Moreover, the IT routine and the hardware customisation permits a near real-time staging and storage of the data acquired by the sensors. The preliminary on-ground demonstration phase has returned good information on the next future implementation scheduled.