.: Detailed Research :.

details on what I do...(as if you're interested)...









A knowledge-enabled system for coordinating the design of co-located urban infrastructure


Research Components/Deliverables:

1- An Ontology to encapsulate the knowledge available in the field or urban infrastructure design.

2- A set of decision criteria for the sustainable routing of buried urban infrastructure

Criteria for the routing/alignment of buried urban infrastructure can be broadly classified into explicit and implicit criteria. Explicit criteria include the guidelines, regulations and procedures that govern the routing/alignment of buried infrastructure. Although these criteria are well established they spread across all infrastructure domains (water, wastewater, electricity, gas, telephone, etc…). By combining all these criteria in a single consistent repository, knowledge from different fields can be shared across all infrastructure domains in a transparent fashion. 

Implicit criteria are not explicitly articulated in a published document but can be of tremendous benefit if taken into consideration. These criteria can be further classified into:

Formal Implicit Criteria: These include best practices that are systematically employed by designers in routing buried infrastructure. They have evolved from informal criteria and have become an industry de facto. These criteria tend to be more situation-based compared to the more general explicit criteria.

Informal Implicit Criteria: These include the lessons that have been learned from previous projects but have not yet reached an industry consensus to be recognized as a best practice. These criteria tend to be much more project-specific and cannot be used as a rule of thumb across all projects. These are the most difficult set of criteria to elicit due to their tacit nature.

3- An implementation of the ontology and its associated knowledge in an interactive environment

The final product of this research is an implementation that makes use of the ontology and the decision criteria. It is envisioned that a web-based GIS system be created for the following purpose:

  • To demonstrate the data sharing capabilities across different organizations that the ontology can provide.

  • To demonstrate the interoperability opportunities across CAD and GIS media.

  • To act as a knowledge repository for knowledge pertaining to the routing of urban infrastructure.

  • To act as dynamic knowledge repository for urban infrastructure knowledge in general.

The research methodology will utilize the formal approach of Requirement Analysis to design the implementation environment.

Research Contributions:

1- Formalizing a model for infrastructure products: Research in this area has been very scarce with most product modeling efforts focused on the building construction industry. Froese (2003) identifies the need to extend product models to include civil infrastructure as one of the major upcoming steps needed for model-based exchange.

2- Creating a generic model for representing knowledge pertaining to civil infrastructure: The developed Ontology provides a conceptualization for knowledge in civil infrastructure. Its generic framework (owed to the top-down modeling approach used), will enable knowledge to be seamlessly added without the need to re-create a model.

3- Formalizing the explicit knowledge used to route buried infrastructure: This knowledge is spread across different infrastructure industries that work in isolation. This research will combine these guidelines to provide a unified and formal representation of this knowledge that will be made available to all stakeholders involved. 

4- Identifying the tacit knowledge used to route buried infrastructure: By analyzing case studies and data mining, the explicit knowledge that experienced designers use in routing urban infrastructure will be exposed. This is significantly important due to the scarcity of literature as well as the superficial nature of current design guidelines addressing this issue.

5- Creating a prototype portal for sharing infrastructure information among utility owners: The final product of this research will serve as a prototype portal for exchanging infrastructure related information among utility owners. Due to security and interoperability barriers, such a portal has never been implemented. Its implementation as a prototype housed in an academic workspace will create an excellent opportunity for evaluating the usefulness of such a system.