Research Activities: 2006

Development and Testing of High Resolution Target Monitor



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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency


University of Missouri, Research Board


Principal Investigator

Derek Apel
Assistant Professor, Department of Mining Engineering
University of Missouri-Rolla
324 McNutt Hall
Rolla , MO 65409-0450

p(573) 341- 4838
f(573) 341- 6934

Student Involvement

It is anticipated that one graduate student will work full time on this project. The student will be a Ph.D. candidate from department of Mining Engineering and his primary task will be conducting of laboratory and field testing of the instrument. In addition to work performed by the Mining Engineering student the project will require assistantship of Electrical or Computing Engineering Student who will help with the development of software and electronics of the instrument.


Project Objectives

The objective of this research project is to develop and conduct laboratory and field evaluation of HRTMM which can remotely measure ground deformations with sub-millimeter accuracy. The monitor will be based on unique technology for the measurement of positional changes in targets located at any distance which is being developed at the University of Missouri-Rolla. This system has the potential to yield extremely high accuracy for the detection and monitoring of positional changes (as small as 0.125mm with the current laboratory implementation) presented by many types of targets located close by or very distant from the monitor.


Project Abstract

The proposed High-resolution Target Movement Monitor uses triangulation theory but in a unique way. Unlike the commercially available triangulation systems which use sensing diodes to perceive reflected laser signatures and are limited to very short distances, the proposed system uses lasers and image analyzing software to detect distance change between camera and the monitored surface. This proposed image analyzing technique removes the need to use the linear photodiodes that only measure laser spot light intensity and are limited in their receptiveness. Target measurements made through air (gaseous) and other transparent media may be analyzed. The main advantage of this system over the commercially available systems is its accuracy and low cost which makes this system attractive for monitoring mining and civil engineering structures. The accuracy and range of this system depend upon the resolution and the focal length of the camera that is used. The HRTMM system underwent some preliminary lab testing which showed very promising results. The investigators seek funds to evaluate this system at underground tunnels to asses the impact of elements such as dust, vibration and lighting on the performance of HRTMM.


Anticipated Benefits

The ground failure in mining and civil engineering structures not only impacts the safety of people but also has a direct economic impact on the companies through the loss of equipment, loss of valuable mineral ore and cleanup costs. The ability of this system to remotely measure ground movement with sub-millimeter accuracy will allow for monitoring the ground movement in areas of high traffic or which are inaccessible for installation of traditional ground movement sensing devices. The high resolution ground movement monitoring system will allow for a better understanding of ground failure mechanisms and provide an advance sensing tool for geotechnical monitoring. Other applications where this system can be used include r emote measurement of movement and/or deformational changes occurring in numerous types of targets, for example, open pit mines, road embankments, underground tunnels and mine excavations, nuclear repositories, buildings, bridges, satellites, water level, deformation of tanks containing pressurized liquefied gas, undersea structures, volcanoes, etc.


Modal Orientation

Monitoring and measurement of ground movement along road embankments, underground tunnels, monitoring of deformations on structures such as bridges or buildings.



Project Start Date:
July 1, 2006
Project End Date:June 30, 2008

Relationship to other Research/Projects


Co-PI with 30% project share on the development of Virtual Reality Roof bolting Program sponsored by NIOSH. This is 5 year program with $750k budget.


Technology Transfer Activities



Transportation Research Board Keywords


Ground Movement Monitor, Road Embankments, Tunnels, Bridges.