BROOKLYN, New York, Thursday, July 11, 2019 - The Institution of Civil Engineers will honor the research of a New York University professor who employed terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to examine Ireland's historic Guinness Bridge.The research paper, published in the journal Engineering History and Heritage, garnered the 2019 Manby Prize from the institution, which lauded it for its exceptional quality and benefit to the civil engineering, construction and materials science community.It provided both a case history of a significant structure and a framework for assessing other historic wrought iron bridges using data.Debra Laefer, a professor of civil and urban engineering at NYU Tandon who also serves as a professor of urban informatics and director of citizen science at NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), chose to examine the structure using TLS, a non-contact method by which researchers can quickly, cost-effectively, and safely acquire three-dimensional (3D) topographic data on the visible surfaces of structural members with millimeter-level accuracy.Much bridge assessment is conducted by means of visual inspection, which is subjective and highly dependent on an inspector's experience, particularly in poor weather conditions or when there is limited site access.TLS is a ground-based version of airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR); Laefer has been widely celebrated for collecting the world's densest urban LiDAR dataset, which at over 300 points per square meter is more than 30 times denser than typical, capturing above-ground urban geometry at unprecedented detail.
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Increasingly engineers may need to help steer and optimise technology.As the world faces some of its biggest challenges - eradicating poverty, mitigating and adapting to climate change - the world s supply of engineering skills is falling short.A UNESCO study estimates that 2.5 million new engineers and technicians would have been needed from 2010 to 2015 in sub-Saharan Africa alone if the region were to achieve the UN millennium development goal of improved access to clean water and sanitation.The region fell well short of this ambition - and is still falling.Automation and artificial intelligence AI could address some skills shortages but concern is sometimes expressed that in advancing technology such as automation of design work or advanced robotics we hand over too much control.Or that we create disproportionate opportunities for some highly skilled workers and owners of capital while replacing the labour of some less skilled workers with machines.
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