Intelligence in Subsurface Infrastructure

Research workshop on enhanced methodologies and next-generation systems and concepts for construction operations in the underworld
| training . analysis . planning . visualisation |

27 November 2017 . University of Twente . Enschede


Bringing diverse experts together.

Reliable information about subsurface utilities, in conjunction with reliable, profession-established practices, are essential for planning and conducting subsurface construction operations. When information and practices are not reliable, the risk of damaging existing infrastructure drastically increases. Such errors are not only costly and time consuming; they pose a serious risk to public safety and operations crew personnel.

There is now an urgent need to bring researchers together from a range of disciplines to better understand how we can develop accurate models and images of the underground through detection and information technology, and how project conditions impact construction management and engineering tasks. Specifically, there exists a need to (a) comprehensively address health, safety, and risk in subsurface construction, (b) establish methodologies for studying myriad sophisticated practices of decision makers and crew in the field, and (c) develop next generation IT solutions for data analysis and decision support.

We are very pleased to form this workshop with a small group of carefully selected experts from a range of disciplines covering informatics, geophysics, construction management, urban planning. Each of us conducts work within construction and the underground realm, but each with a different perspective and specialty.

The primary target of the meeting is to:

  • discover and build momentum for mutual research interests
  • explore the opportunity to build a promising consortium towards submission of proposals to open EU-calls

Next Steps

Immediate follow-up initiatives.

In addition to building a consortium for longer term initiatives and funding proposals, we are planning two immediate next steps to the workshop.

Firstly, we plan to create a special issue for the International Journal of 3-D Information Modeling (IJ3DIM) and invite workshop participants to email us to indicate their interest before 7 December.

Call for IJ3DIM Special Issue on Underground Infrastructure Research

Secondly, we plan to run a session track on subsurface utilities in the upcoming Joint Geo Delft 2018 conference. We will discuss this further during the workshop.


The workshop will be held in the Carré building (room 2022) at the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands.


International guests arrive by plane from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or Dusseldorf Airport (Germany). There are good train connections from Germany. An inter-city train brings you from the airports to Enschede within 1-2 hours. Check Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and Dusseldorf Airport for timetables. Once arrived at Enschede Centraal, bus 1 brings you to campus and bus 9 does so too in around 15min. These buses depart frequently.


There are various hotels close to our venue. We recommend three. One on campus, one on a walking distance, the other close to the central station:

If you want to stay on campus (on a walking distance from the workshop building), then we suggest you book a room in Drienerburght or de Broeierd.

If you prefer staying close to the central station and city center (15 minutes by bus from campus) we recommend the intercity hotel.


Tentative schedule.

Participants, please prepare a 15-20 minute presentation about your prior research, ongoing work, and future ambitions with regards to underground infrastructure research.

After getting to know one another better, we plan to conclude the day by exchanging first ideas about forming consortia for larger research projects, and to apply for grants. If successful, we plan to organize a follow up meeting early 2018 in Denmark.



Carré Building


André Dorée

CR 2022


Léon, Carl

CR 2022


Sisi Zlatanova

CR 2022


Erik Klems, Lasse Hedegaard

CR 2022


Nicole Metje

CR 2022


Fransje Hooimeijer

CR 2022


Mila Koeva, Richard Sliuzas

CR 2022


Melanie Braamhaar (EU Office)

CR 2022


Concluding discussion, remarks on follow-up, drinks

CR 2022

Who we are

Workshop participants are from a diverse range of disciplines and institutions.

Léon olde Scholtenhuis

University of Twente

Carl Schultz

Aarhus University

Sisi Zlatanova

TU Delft

André Dorée

University of Twente

Søren Wandahl

Aarhus University

Ahmed Zaki

University of Twente

Farid Vahdati

University of Twente

Nicole Metje

University of

Mark van der Meijde

University of Twente

Fransje Hooimeijer

TU Delft

Erik Kjems

Aalborg University

Mehul Bhatt

University of Bremen
Örebro University

Tatjana Kutzner

TU Munich

Mila Koeva

University of Twente

Research Themes

We are motivated by core research themes surrounding health, safety and decision support in subsurface construction. These topics are by no means exhaustive.

Eliciting Expert Knowledge

Interviews and workshops with experienced excavator operators to capture what they know.

Big Data from practitioners in action

Equipping operators and machinery with sensors (eye tracking, location tracking, etc.) to collect and analyse dynamic and behavioural data about the reality of daily operations: cognitive science, machine learning, computer vision

Subsurface Ontologies

Developing and standardising a comprehensive information model for subsurface infrastructure, construction processes, and worker perception and behaviour.

Automatically Generating 3D Subsurface Models

Integrating incomplete, heterogenous sources of data (ground penetrating radar, 2D schematics, trial trench results, etc.) with particular emphasis on explicitly modelling uncertainty, and dynamic real-time updates.

Artificial Intelligence in Decision Support

Formalising domain knowledge in logic programming-based decision support systems for: advanced simulation, dynamic operations planning, "what if" Question/Answering, with strong emphasis on explanation.

Advanced Visualisation

New approaches to communicating subsurface models and information: virtual and augmented reality, immersive 3D, novel data visualisation techniques.