Automatic Deformation Monitoring System

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An automatic deformation monitoring system is a group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent software and hardware elements forming a complex whole for deformation monitoring that, once set up, does not require human input to function. Automatic deformation monitoring systems provide a critical function for the customer. In many cases an automatic deformation monitoring system saved lives and prevented the loss of millions of dollars in infrastructure and income.

Automatic deformation monitoring system components

Automatic deformation monitoring systems include:

  • Consulting
  • Sensors
  • Communication
  • Data acquisition software and data management
  • Deformation analysis


The consulting of the automatic deformation monitoring system covers a number of service activities that range from the first on site visit to sound out the situation and collect the requirements to the detailed project engineering with the selection of a suitable combination of measuring devices, mounting, power, communications, data center location and data acquisition software to the installation, operation and maintenance of the system.


File:Freeport Mine Indonesia Total Station.JPG
A standard geodetic monitoring instrument in the Freeport open pit mine, Indonesia
File:Jiangyin Bridge.JPG
GNSS reference station antenna for structural monitoring of the Jiangying Bridge

To cover all applications an automatic deformation monitoring system must support any geodetic and geotechnical measuring device (sensor) that is required by the monitoring application.


Between measuring devices and the data acquisition software a broad range of communication alternatives are possible depending range, data rate and cost.

Data acquisition software including data management

The software is the heart of the monitoring system because of its key roles in acquiring data from the attached sensors, computing meaningful values from the measurements, recording results, visualising the changes and alarming responsible persons should threshold value be exceeded. Whilst the software is the heart of the system, the operator is always the brains because they have the sufficient skills and expertise to make considered decisions on the appropriate response to the movement, e.g. independent verification though on-site inspections, re-active controls such as structural repairs and emergency responses such as shut down processes, containment processes and site evacuation.

Deformation analysis

Deformation analysis is concerned with determining if a measured displacement is statistically significant. The analysis can be done visually through the use of time line, scatter, vector and other plots and numerically. Numerical deformation analysis is directly related to the science of network adjustment.


Papers & Examples of automatic deformation monitoring systems


See also