Engineering with Computers

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 29–49 | Cite as

Feasibility of real-time graphical simulation for active monitoring of visibility-constrained construction processes

  • Sanat Talmaki
  • Vineet R. Kamat
  • Kamel Saidi
Original Article


The lack of clear visibility and spatial awareness frequently results in construction accidents such as workers being struck by heavy equipment; and collisions between equipment and workers or between two pieces of equipment. In addition, certain processes such as excavation and drilling inherently pose constraints on equipment operators’ abilities to clearly perceive and analyze their working environment. In this paper, the authors investigate the types of spatial interactions on construction sites and the need for graphical real-time monitoring. A computing framework is presented for monitoring interactions between mobile construction equipment and static job-site entities, workers, and other equipment. The framework is based on the use of sensor-based tracking, georeferenced models, and a resulting concurrent, evolving 3D graphical database. The developed framework enables a real-time 3D visualization scheme that provides equipment operators with graphical job-site views that are not possible through conventional on-site cameras. The two key parameters affecting a proximity monitoring framework’s effectiveness are measurement error and latency. Measurement error refers to the error in proximity computation—with respect to ground truth or theoretically expected values. Latency is a difference in the time between when an event occurs in the real world and when a proximity monitoring framework provides output to warning systems that end users depend upon. Results from validation experiments conducted to analyze the achievable measurement error and latency of the monitoring framework using indoor GPS tracking as a ground truth system are also presented and discussed.


Accidents Buried utilities Proximity queries Collision avoidance Simulation Monitoring Sensor-based tracking Real-time visualization 



The presented research was funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) via Grants CMMI-927475 and CMMI-1160937. The writers gratefully acknowledge NSF’s support. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF, NIST, or the University of Michigan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.National Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

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