Civil engineering is an ever-changing industry. With advancements in technology, we've seen the civil engineering field evolve from working solely with concrete to now designing and building everything from bridges to buildings.
Here are 10 ways that technology has impacted how civil engineers work today.
1) Using drones for surveying land
Most people who have flown drones know that they are a great tool for capturing aerial views. But did you also realize that another use of drone technology is land surveying?
Civil and geotechnical engineers have found a new use for drones by using them to survey land. They have found that unmanned aerial vehicles provide a quick, safe way of measuring out large tracts of land for surveying purposes without risking human life by sending people in harm's way or into treacherous terrain. In rock blasting applications, engineers are able to conduct surveying from a distance to avoid exposure to blasting areas.
These unmanned flying machines can map the earth's surface with incredible accuracy, so they're being used more and more often in surveying.
Drone usage is most prevalent among construction managers who are able to quickly assess their worksite while avoiding hazards such as heavy machinery or scaffolding that poses safety risks not only for themselves but also for others around them.
In addition, in an effort to find new ways of dredging, civil engineers may have found a solution that could help make the process less labor-intensive.
In many industries (such as mining), dredging is often done by hand and can be difficult work for those who are involved in this kind of manual labor on site. However, with the use of drones, there has been significant progress in dredging while also reducing costs significantly when compared to traditional methods which require more manpower than necessary just to get the job accomplished.
2) Designing structures with CAD software
The tools of today's civil engineers are far more advanced than the tape measures and graph paper they used in years past. The work has also become much less tedious with time, thanks to computer-aided design software.
With state-of-the-art CAD software, civil engineers can design structures that are more efficient and cost-effective.
Civil engineers can now create and manufacture designs for machine parts, tools, buildings, and other structures with more accuracy thanks to computer-assisted drafting (CAD) programs like AutoDesk Inventor Fusion 360.
These highly sophisticated tools allow users to plan out their creations and prototypes digitally in a 3D space that gives them complete control over every detail from start to finish - including making changes on the fly as they please without having any fear of destroying materials or wasting time by needing physical prototypes first.
3) Enabling remote sensing via cloud technologies
Remote sensing is one advance that allows for remote monitoring on-site with minimal interference from physical presence.
Civil engineers can now monitor construction progress from the comfort of their homes thanks to remote sensing technology. For example, they might use a thermal camera to detect hot spots on underground pipes or send an unmanned aircraft system into airspace over the site for aerial views and photographs
Civil engineers can use remote sensing to monitor the progress of a construction project without being physically present for any part of it. They'll be able to see what's happening in real-time through live video feeds or take pictures and videos with drones that fly around taking photos from all angles.
But let's not forget, remote sensing would not be possible if it wasn't for today's mobile and cloud technology. Cloud technology enables the possibility to access, modify and manage data stored in remote servers, benefiting major industries such as healthcare.
Both, mobile and cloud technologies allow data sharing in real-time to all participants in any building construction process for improved collaboration and information sharing.
4) Connecting devices in cities- Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled sensors
In today's industries (oil and gas, manufacturing, food, dairy, etc), civil engineers are not only responsible for designing and building infrastructure that sustains us but also creating systems to help make our lives easier. This is why Industry 4.0 has been coined - it focuses on improving production efficiency by allowing automated machines to communicate with each other without human intervention using sensor networks connected via internet-of-things (IoT).
The internet of things is one step closer to reality. As more smart devices become interconnected, this opens up a whole new level for innovation that will change everything about how we live and work in our city.
Smart factories (aka Factory of the Future) can reduce operating costs while generating quality products at a faster rate than traditional methods used before Industry 4.0 was introduced because they use sensors embedded into machinery which collect real-time data through machine learning algorithms so there's no need for humans working long hours or shifts over
But, let's go back to IoTs. It's a fact: civil engineers have been hard at work connecting new technologies to our cities by way of connected smart objects aptly referred to as the IoTs.
Building sensors into these structures allows civil engineers to monitor them easier than ever before from anywhere on earth using modern communication technologies such as cellular phones and satellites.
One application that can really make a difference for natural disaster relief efforts and disaster restoration, such as earthquakes or floods, would be IoT-enabled sensors with predictive analytics features. Using IoT methods can help save billions per year lost due to damages caused by natural disasters because it would allow disaster relief crews faster access.
5) The use of Building Information Modeling (BMI)
Professional civil engineers are in high demand, and the business of building information modeling (BMI) is booming. BMI technology has been around for at least 15 years now but it's only recently become a household name among civil engineering professionals as they've had to deal with increasingly complex projects that have required more data visualization technologies than previously existed. Interestingly enough, many people who use this type of software don't even realize it was created by civil engineers.
Civil and structural engineers are using Building Information Modeling (BMI) and data visualization technologies to create more efficient and sustainable buildings. This is an advanced system that helps keep track of all parts involved in constructing buildings through various means like cameras installed throughout the site and data gathered from sensors embedded within materials used during each stage.
With Building Information Modeling (BMI) Technology Dashboards civil engineers can monitor everything about their project at all times throughout every step of its development process. This technology also allows experts to review project results in real-time, enabling better collaboration.
BMI dashboards help building owners, investors, developers, contractors, and regulators stay informed about every detail related to their project - from site analysis data like soil types or geological conditions for example; right down to individual components that go into constructing the actual structure itself such as steel rebar size requirements or required spacing between posts on an exterior beam wall system.
BMI is a perfect support for clash detection and problem-solving during design which improves planning and increases efficiency.
6) The use of big data
Historical big data can pick out patterns and probabilities of risks increasing safety. Big data from weather, traffic, and environment can determine the optimal phasing of activities to improve efficiency.
Big data is a term used to describe extremely large data sets that can be used to uncover hidden trends, patterns in behavior, and unknown correlations.
Civil engineering has been around for a long time, but now they have access to more powerful tools than ever before - in this case, "big data." Civil engineers are always on call during major storms or earthquakes; however, today's civil engineer is much better equipped at assessing their impact thanks to all that information swirling about.
Civil engineers use big data to forecast the behavior of natural disasters and assess environmental impacts. Big data is important for construction technology because it can help to uncover hidden trends and patterns in behavior that might not be seen with small sample size. Bigger samples allow us to make more informed decisions about the way we use our resources, which leads to an increase in productivity within any industry.
7) The use and development of water conservation technology
The average American residence consumes more than 300 gallons of water per day, which translates to nearly 110,000 gallons per year (most contributed from daily hot showers). When you factor in all of your tenant families, that’s a lot of water. Thankfully, engineers and designers have developed many viable tactics an water conservation ways for reducing water consumption in ways that will have a real impact on your bottom line. Some examples include: shower flow controllers, leak detection systems, toilet leak prevention devices, and water flow management devices like The Smart Valve.
Innovation often comes as small ideas like these ones form into larger concepts with potentially huge impacts. For example, the elimination of excess is so important in our current drought conditions that the use of these new inventions could be a solution to this problem.
Similarly, civil engineers have been working tirelessly for years on developing sustainable and efficient technologies relating to water sustainability, but their work may finally pay off as we face one of the worst droughts in recent memory nationwide with California being most severely impacted by it all due largely to its reliance on agriculture which requires copious amounts of irrigation.
This means there's more need than ever before for people looking at ways they can conserve water without cutting into production or lifestyle quality whatsoever if possible, waiting patiently until things get better again otherwise.
8) Develop 3D printing solutions
Civil engineering and 3D printing are two of the most important innovations in construction technology. These techniques have both changed how buildings, bridges, roads, dams, etc., can be constructed with an efficiency never before possible
A well-known example is that today a modern skyscraper could not even exist without it!
3D printing enables civil engineers to prefabricate ready-to-be-used materials, both offsite or directly on-site.
Large-scale 3D printing is used today to create houses, bridges, and other structures that would have been difficult or impossible before. Civil engineering has come a long way since the days of clay bricks.
9) The use of digital marketing
The field of civil engineering and digital marketing is a dynamic, evolving one. The two fields overlap in an interesting way because both deal with the concept that information has value on its own merits.
Civil engineers use math to determine how much material it would take for building bridges or designing structures while marketers analyze data about customers' buying habits such as their age range and income level to help companies find ways to attract new clients through targeted advertising campaigns.
The economic downturn has had an adverse effect on the civil engineering industry, causing many companies to lower their prices in order to compete for new contracts and jobs. In response, some of these firms have expanded into other areas such as website development, SEO optimization, or strategic inbound marketing campaigns that they may not traditionally be involved with but can still provide additional revenue streams
Are you a civil engineer looking for opportunities ?
Civil engineers are always looking for new ways to help their teams get the job done. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and with constant technological changes in civil engineering, there is a lot of room for creativity.
If you are a civil engineer interested in learning more about the engineering industry, or if you're looking to make an impactful career change, contact us. We can help steer you towards your next opportunity as we know how important it is for people with this skill set to be out there and making a difference.
A version of this article was first published by U.S. Aqua Services
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