International experts gather in Nottingham to explore techniques for monitoring structural damage

23 Sep 2013 13:05:00.060

Over 190 world experts met at The University of Nottingham recently, to discuss ways of finding innovative solutions to the failures of dams, tunnels, bridges and buildings, caused as a result of fatigue and geo-hazards.

Structural failures caused by excessive uses, aging of materials, landslides, ground subsidence and earthquakes are global problems that often lead to significant loss of life, infrastructure and also result in severe social and economic implications

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Geometrical deformation is the process by which an object responds to an applied force.  Rapid developments in advanced surveying  systems, combined with new analytical tools, telecommunications, micro-electronics and computer sciences have significantly improved deformation monitoring in applied geodesy, engineering surveying and related fields.

A first for international collaboration
The event, which was entitled the 2nd Joint International Symposium on Deformation Monitoring (JISDM) brought together for the first time, the three major organisations which operate in this field – The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) and the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS).

The symposium was organised by Dr. Xiaolin Meng, Director of the University’s Sino-UK Geospatial Engineering Centre and his Nottingham based team. Speaking about the event, he said: “It was an honour to host so many experts from around the world, here at The University of Nottingham. The technologies involved in deformation monitoring are very fast moving and complex, and so it is vitally important that we bring this expertise together to discuss common challenges and issues and share ideas.”

“It was very encouraging to see so many international colleagues here in Nottingham at the Symposium. There were representatives from 27 countries at the event and I was particularly pleased that so many academics and business representatives that we have made links with through the Sino-UK Geospatial Engineering Centre, made the long journey from China to participate.

Advancing knowledge and understanding
Prof. Chris Rizos, Australia, is President of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) and a member of the Executive of the international GNSS Service (IGS). Speaking about the use of modern technologies, he said: “We have come a long way since the first GPS satellite was launched in 1978. The application of the various techniques used in modern geodesy is growing rapidly and technologies are now used in areas such as disaster response, urban planning, environment, mining, manufacturing, construction and global security, to name just a few. This is why it is vitally important that we bring experts together to find solutions to challenges relating to cost-effective and reliable deformation monitoring.”

Prof. Wolfgang Niemeier, Germany, representing the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG - Fédération Internationale des Géomètres) at the Symposium, added: “I am delighted with the excellent organisation and the scientific content of this Symposium. It brought together experts from around the world who, together, have been able to explore many of the major technologies involved in deformation monitoring and share ideas. Hopefully, we will be able to work more closely together to advance knowledge and understanding in this area.”

New research partnerships
Prof. Marco Scaioni, China, representing the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), added: “This is the first time that we have joined with the FIG and IAG to discuss the subject of deformation monitoring and it was definitely a very positive collaboration which, I am sure, will result in many successful research partnerships in the future.”

After the Symposium, a trip was arranged to Edinburgh by The University of Nottingham and Barry Colford who was a keynote speaker in this symposium and Chief Engineer and Bridgemaster for the Forth Estuary Transport Authority.  The trip to the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland shows delegates how deformation measurement techniques are used to monitor the safety of the bridge which was the largest in the world outside the USA, when it was originally constructed in 1964.

For more information about 2nd Joint International Symposium on Deformation Monitoring, visit

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For more information about this press release, contact Nick King, Marketing Projects Manager, Business Engagement and Innovation Services, University of Nottingham. Tel: 0115 82 32184, or email

Photo shows: Keynote speakers and sponsors from the JISDM 2013 conference in Nottingham

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

Story credits

For more information about the sympsium and the work of the Sino-UK Geospation Centre, contact Dr. Xiaolin Meng on +44 (0)115 84 66029 or email:
Nick King  

Nick King - Marketing and Communications Manager, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 74 86727 Location: Coates Building, Faculty of Engineering, University Park Nottingham

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