In ten years, Spain will have serious problems: Engineers will not exist

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The Director of the Cartographic and Land Engineering Department of the University of Salamanca, Diego González Aguilera, is one of the most prestigious researchers at that University. He also leader the TIDOP Research Group specialized in Photogrammetry and Computer Vision.  That Group consists of scientist from various disciplines, from civil engineers or architects to engineers in geomatics. This line-up of the team allows the generation of 3D models that can be used for other sectors to enhance the final product obtained.

Nowadays, TIDOP Research Group has achieved some interesting results in different fields. For example, regarding the road accident field they are working on a system capable of 3D reconstructing accident scenes, allowing an accurate evaluation of the different parameters involved. Another interesting study relating with the Heritage field is the creation of predictive models on which possible pathological processes of our monuments can be predicted and evaluated.

In an interview with Antonio Casillas, Diego discussed the future of engineering in Spain. Diego said that in about 10 year, Spain will have serious problems with its engineers. Countries as USA are undergoing this problem using engineers from other countries such as, for example, Spain.

Diego has witnessed this problem at first hand. Recently, he has been part of an evaluation committee at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (considered one of the most important universities in Spain), where he observed the great decline of enrolments: “from 250 to 50 new enrolments in the civil engineering degree”, says Diego.

From his own experience, Diego believes that the problem comes from the secondary education. Companies as BQ, show robots in secondary classes to motivate their students to study an engineering.

For more information, please consult: Interview with Diego Gonzalez Aguilera

Hooking to map study

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In spite of his 33 years, Pablo Rodríguez González (Mieres-Asturias, 1983) has a wide and recognize research and academic career. Although his close relatives have always been connected with the mining field. Pablo took his Bachelor degree in surveying engineering in 2004 from Oviedo University. Later, in 2006, he received his Master degree in Geodesy and Cartography. Obtaining two First National End of Degree Awards.

Nowadays, Pablo is a post-doctoral research at University of Salamanca and member of the Research Unit TIDOP (Geomatics Technologies for the 3D digitalization and modelling of complex objects). Linked to this group from his pre-doctoral stage, Pablo wrote his PhD thesis, entitled “Automatización en el procesamiento de datos adquiridos mediante laser escáner 3D”. Receiving his third First National End of Degree Award.

Since then, he has been visiting different National and International Universities. Highlighting a research centre in Trento (Italy): the Research Unit 3DOM (https://3dom.fbk.eu/). There, Pablo participated in a European research project. Using UAV platforms to digitalize First World War cultural heritage elements.

Pablo is co-author of several research publications in international journals. Also, he has participated in fiveteen research project. One of them the European project CTH2 (Cultural Heritage Through Time).

Nowadays, Pablo is working on a research line that tries to hybridize the data provided by different cameras (RGB and thermographic cameras). Said approach allows the generation of 3D models. Enabling the detection of pathologies, thermal breaks, etc.

It is also noteworthy that Pablo is author of eight patents in different fields (Forensic, Photogrammetry and Industry) as well as the winner of an education prize granted by the most prestigious organization into the geomatic field: the ISPRS. Regarding this prize, Pablo and other researchers developed an educational software able to pass from 2D digital images to 3D models. Nowadays, said work, still lives. Involving several Universities (Salamanca, Bologna and FBK) under the name GRAPHOS (http://tidop.usal.es/software). This program comes to helping users to reconstruct object in 3D requiring only a device able to take images (mobile phone, tablet, digital camera, etc.)

Pablo expresses his intention to continue with his academic career, if possible, in Ávila. Boosting the Campus of this city.

 

The research group TIDOP receives 3 Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral contracts

The research group TIDOP, located in High Polytechnic School of Avila, has received a total of 3 postdoctoral contracts (Juan de la Cierva). One of them in the formation and two in the incorporation modality.  Particularly noteworthy are the contracts obtained by Pablo Rodríguez Gonzávez and  Susana Lagúela López, considering that the  number of contracts offered were only four (in the Engineering and Architecture field). The other contract has been for  Lucía Díaz Vilariño. These contracts choose those PhD researchers with a brilliant curriculum and career, where the scientific production, the mobility, as well as the technology transfers are one of the aspects evaluated.

Said new suposes a fact of the wide scientific production (publications, research projects, contract agreements and technology transfer) carried out by TIDOP. These contracts also confirms the potentialy and capabilities that can offer the Land Engineering (particurarly the Geomatic) in our lives.

According to Diego González Aguilera, head of the group, these contracts are a recogniton of the excellent research career . Now, the laureate reseachers have two year ahead to carry out yours reseach works. Is in this framework where the Universities try to incorporate them into the University. During the contract, the reseachers are going to develop research activities as well asuniveresity teaching.

 

  • Pablo Rodríguez Gonzálvez: obtained a Bacherllor degree in surveying engineering in 2004 and a Master degree in geodesy and cartography in 2006. He received two First National End of Degrees Award for both degrees. He obtained his PhD in 2011, from Salamanca University, for which received an Extraordinary PhD award. He is involved in UAV, LiDAR researching and applications of TLS and gaming sensors to engineering and architecture. Author of more than 50 articles. 
  • Susan Lagúela López: Mining Engineer (2009) , where she also received her MSc in Environmental Engineering (2010). She obtained her PhD with international mention in 3D thermography in 2014 at the University of Vigo, receiving an Extraordinary PhD Award. Author of more than 30 papers and conference contributions, she received the Prize to Young Researchers in New Technologies from the Council of Pontevedra, Spain (2011), and the Prize “Ermanno Grinzato to Researchers Under 30” from the International Conference in Thermography, AITA2013.
  • Lucía Díaz Villarino: Doctor in agronomic engineering. Her main research interest are focused on the Geomatic, Carthography and Geographical Information Systems. Co-author of mora than 15 publications, she has take part in mora that six reseach projects and eleven contract agreements. She has several research stays.

“Medical check” of monuments

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The well-known theme line of “prevention is better than cure” can extend not only to humans but also to monuments. In particular, to historical constructions, affected by several “diseases” related with the environmental conditions, natural hazards such as earthquakes, etc. 

As the humans, the cultural heritage requires regular examinations (preventive actions), which are not carried out nowadays, in contrast with the benefits provided by them. Derived from these action systems (corrective solutions) it is required to invest huge amounts of money to patch up the monument.

According with this needed, the awarded research group TIDOP (Information technologies for the 3D modelling of complex objects) tidop.usal.es of the University of Salamanca (USAL) is working on a pioneering project with the collaboration of other countries and universities such as the University of Minho (Portugal), Blaise-Pascal (France) and Santa Maria la Real between others.

One of its members, the engineering Luis Javier Sánchez Aparicio, stresses the need to change our minds to a preventive approach. With the aim of maintaining in the best conditions our cultural heritage, became a sign of identify.

“These constructions are monuments with many years and pathologies. Said pathologies can compromise the stability of the construction”, argued Luis Javier. Luis Javier reiterates the need to change the current tendency, focuses on corrective actions to preventive solutions. Thanks to this, it is possible to optimize the available funds, preventing the loss of the building authenticity as well as expensive actions.

Also, said project is supported by public institutions such as the Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio, the Dirección General de Cultura del Norte de Portugal and a French museum. This transnational consortium (with universities of several countries as well as private and public institutions) will ensure the correct implementation of the proposed initiative. Resulting in a simple, powerful and intuitive tridimensional representation of the monument. This representation enables the evolution of the construction through the time. Said model also will have an artificial intelligence able to predict future problems on the monument. All of these allow the correct evaluation by the experts (architects, engineers, etc.).

This project will use the last technology (drone systems with digital cameras and laser scanners) able to reconstruct in 3D monuments (including monuments in critical state). Reconstructed the models, an intelligent sensor network will be installed on the monument with a minimum impact on the monument. 

All of them (the 3D systems as well as monitoring sensors) will be integrated into a common BIM (Building Information Modelling) platform, able to interpret the raw data and provide an intuitive model for the end-user. According to the Engineering Luis Javier Sánchez Aparicio, this project will involve not only end-user but also small and medium size companies involved in the construction sector.

The creation of a non-profit organization will provide the finishing touch. This organization will ensure the sustainability along the time of the project. 

 

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Análisis termográfico de edificios

 

El uso de la termografía infrarroja comMapaEnergeticoo técnica sobradamente provada para la inspección de edificios y localización de patologías como fugas de aire, humedades, etc. Nos permite realizar un examen visual “in-situ” de calidad de los objetos de estudio gracias a la posibilidad de visualizar en tiempo real los resultados pudiendo detectar sin dificultad los desperfectos o elementos característicos de estos. Estas técnicas de medición cualitativa nos proporcionan la posibilidad de realizar inspecciones rápidas y eficaces sin contacto directo con el objeto y de forma no destructiva, lo que disminuye tanto el riesgo de incidentes para los operarios como los daños producidos en los propios objetos de estudio ocasionados por otras técnicas intrusivas. Además, también se ha demostrado la utilidad de la termografía infrarroja como técnica puramente de medida a través de su utilización para el cálculo de propiedades termofísicas de materiales tales como difusividad y transmitancia térmica.

En el caso de termografía cualitativa, las publicaciones existentes tratan de estudios realizados in-situ, principalmente en edificios históricos o elementos del patrimonio cultural, mientras que los estudios cualitativos se realizan, en la mayor parte de los casos, en laboratorios sobre muestras de tamaño limitado. En aquellos casos en los que se han realizado estudios termográficos cuantitativos sobre edificios in-situ, los valores de temperatura son empleados con el objetivo de obtener propiedades termofísicas (conductancia térmica) reales del cerramiento, sin embargo su distribución espacial no es considerada.

Conjugar ambas aplicaciones permitirá la automatización del cálculo de pérdidas de calor a partir de las temperaturas medidas con una cámara termográfica. De este modo, no solo se usa la termografía para representar el estado de la pared, sino que también se usan los valores de temperatura contenidos en la termografía para la extracción de parámetros métricos del edificio en estudio, por lo que la hibridación de la información termográfica con el material cartográfico de precisión permitiría extraer la geometría real del objeto de estudio con textura termográfica, pudiendo así realizar mediciones precisas de los elementos de interés directamente sobre el resultado obtenido.

 

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Estudios como el publicado por EuroACE en 2010 colocan la mejora de la eficiencia energética en edificación en cabeza de las acciones necesarias para la reducción de emisiones de gases del efecto invernadero y gasto energético, así como para servir de empuje a la generación de empleo. Especial es el caso del parque de edificios ya construidos, la mayoría procedente de los años 1940-80, con normativa inexistente y recursos escasos. En ellos las obras de rehabilitación energética pueden suponer un ahorro de hasta el 75% en consumo de energía. En España existen 13 millones de viviendas susceptibles de intervención, cuya rehabilitación energética supondría una reducción de las emisiones del sector del 34% con respecto al año 2001.

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Building thermographic analysis

 

 

The use of infraMapaEnergeticored thermography as a widely tested technique for building inspection and location of pathologies such as air leakage and moisture allows the performance of  quality “in-situ” visual examination of the objects under study due to the possibility of obtaining real-time results, being able to detect without difficulty damages or material characteristics. This qualitative measurement technique provides the capability of doing quick, effective and non-destructive inspection without direct contact with the object under study, decreasing the risk of incidents to operators and the damage of the objects comparing with other intrusive techniques. Furthermore, the utility of infrared thermography as a measurement technique has been proved by its use for the determination of the thermophysical properties of materials such as diffusivity and thermal transmittance.

In the qualitative approach, some authors have performed in-situ studies, mainly in historical buildings or cultural heritage elements, whereas quantitative studies are performed mainly in laboratories with limited size samples. In those cases where quantitative thermography studies were performed in-situ, temperature values were employed in order to obtain the real thermophysical properties (thermal conductance) of the building envelope, but their spatial distribution is not considered.

Combine both applications will enable the automation of the heat loss computation from the measured temperatures with a thermographic camera. Thus, the thermography is not only used to represent the state of the wall, but also temperature values represented on the thermography for extracting the metric parameters of the study object so the hybridization of the thermographic information with precise cartographic material would  allow to extract the actual geometry of the object of study with thermal texture, being able to make accurate measurements of the elements of interest directly on the obtained results.

 

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Studies such as the one published by EuroACE in 2010, places improved energy efficiency in building construction at the top of the list of actions that need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gases and energy costs, in addition to acting as a stimulus to generate employment. In particular is the case of existing buildings stock, most of which dates back to the period 1940-80, constructed using non-existent standards and scarce resources. Here, energy refurbishment works could represent a saving of up to 75% in energy consumption. In Spain there are 13 million homes that could be the subject of intervention, where energy refurbishment could result in a reduction in sector emissions of 34% compared to 2001.

 

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Mobile Laser System (MLS) applied to urban tree inventory

In urbanized Western Europe trees are considered an important component of the built-up environment. This also means that there is an increasing demand for tree inventories. Laser mobile mapping systems provide an efficient and accurate way to sample the 3D road surrounding including notable roadside trees. In this research line, a processing chain aiming at the extraction of tree locations and tree sizes from laser mobile mapping data is reached.

  • Vegetation extraction

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  • Tree parameter extraction

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Such steps, in combination with code optimization are expected to be sufficient to reach the final goal of automatized estimation of features sampled by mobile mapping at a rate that matches the acquisition speed and at a quality that matches the result of a human operator.

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