ALERT-ME project structure


The project is structured around six key project tasks:

  1. Site installation
    • Initial site investigation to assist in siting the ALERT sensor arrays
    • Permanent installation of a control system and sensor networks for high resolution, dynamic 3D volumetric imaging of the embankment
    • Installation of low powered wireless data transmission to remotely control the ALERT resistivity monitoring system
    Once installed, the autonomous remotely-controlled prototype ALERT system will begin to stream resistivity measurements at very high sampling rates to a web-based portal, where they will be stored and processed. A stream of high resolution images will be produced that show the dynamic 3D moisture movement through the embankment.
  2. Quantification of temporal and spatial moisture content changes
    • Time-lapse monitoring over at least one complete yearly cycle
    • Deployment of handling protocols to provide comparative images of resistivity change, from which spatial and temporal rates of change can be diagnosed
    • Application of moisture-resistivity relationships to provide real-time diagnostic images of moisture content variation within earthworks
  3. Establish proof-of-concept by confirming the success of ALERT-ME results by sampling and testing materials from zones identified as being "at risk". This will include standard surface visual inspections for signs of embankment distress such as seeps, slumping or minor slips and also the collection of cored samples for laboratory testing.
  4. Assessment of cost effectiveness relative to conventional methods of monitoring. Projected future installation costs will be estimated, and consideration will be given to the likely cost implications for the scale of installation, location, and the nature of potential failure. This task will also include a consultation exercise with the beneficiaries of the technology (e.g. with the stakeholder Steering Group comprising Network Rail, London Underground and British Waterways) to determine the size of the potential market and likely uptake if proven.
  5. Dissemination, knowledge transfer and exploitation of project results will be via many routes including project and technology information flyers, progress reporting to ALERT-ME Steering Group and presentations at transportation and engineering sector forums. Also, magazine, trade and technical articles will be produced during course of the project aimed specifically at the transportation and engineering sectors. Knowledge transfer will include training seminars and technology workshops organised in partnership with the Transport iNET (at Loughborough University). Events will be targeted at the infrastructure stakeholders primarily from the transport sector but also from the built environment, utility and civil engineering sectors.
  6. Project management will be undertaken by BGS, and the Industry Steering Group (G. Underwood Ltd, GCR(N) Ltd, Network Rail, British Waterways, London Underground). BGS will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the project, whilst the function of the Steering Group will be to ensure that the stated aims are relevant to the needs of industry.


Dr David Gunn
Team leader — Geotechnical & Geophysical
Properties & Processes
Email: Dr David Gunn

Dr Jonathan Chambers
Team leader — Geophysical Tomography
Email: Dr Jonathan Chambers