Wireless MEMS-Based In-Place Inclinometer-Accelerometer Array for Real-Time Geotechnical Instrumentation

Victoria Bennett, Tarek Abdoun, Kathleen O’Meara, Matthew Barendse, Thomas Zimmie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The continued functionality of distributed levee systems worldwide is critical for the millions of people who live behind these structures and the further millions that depend on clean drinking water supplies and agriculture protected by flood-control infrastructure. Maintaining these systems has been an increased concern in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The variability of properties within geotechnical systems makes predictions of soil behavior extremely difficult, especially when soil models are not calibrated with field measurements. Accordingly, a need has arisen for a system capable of in situ, real-time monitoring of levees, embankments, and other earthen structures. The work presented herein highlights the development of new sensing technologies for use in a framework to monitor, manage and ensure the safety of geotechnical infrastructure. MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)-based in-place inclinometer system, Measurand’s ShapeAccelArray (SAA), is now established as a sensing tool for simultaneous measurement of 3D soil acceleration and 3D ground deformation up to a depth of one hundred meters, with an accuracy of ±1.5 mm per 30 m. Each sensor array is connected to a wireless sensor node to enable real-time monitoring as well as remote sensor configuration. This system can also include digitally integrated pore pressure measurement in the form of vibrating wire piezometers equipped with microprocessors (called SAAPs). The SAAPs convert vibrating wire data to digital data downhole, and they integrate easily into the SAA system. In situ testing was conducted in several levee sections in New Orleans, LA, USA. The sites were also instrumented with other sensors from Geokon, providing values for comparison. The preliminary testing indicates the suitability of this new multi-parameter system for inclusion in a multi-scale monitoring and health assessment framework, which will be implemented in New Orleans, LA in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEngineering Geology and Geological Engineering for Sustainable Use of the Earth’s Resources, Urbanization and Infrastructure Protection from Geohazards - Proceedings of the 1st GeoMEast International Congress and Exhibition, Egypt 2017 on Sustainable Civil Infrastructures
EditorsJanusz Wasowski, Daniele Giordan, Piernicola Lollino
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783319616476
StatePublished - 2018
Event1st GeoMEast International Congress and Exhibition on Sustainable Civil Infrastructures, Egypt 2017 - Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Duration: Jul 15 2017Jul 19 2017

Publication series

NameSustainable Civil Infrastructures
ISSN (Print)2366-3405
ISSN (Electronic)2366-3413


Conference1st GeoMEast International Congress and Exhibition on Sustainable Civil Infrastructures, Egypt 2017
CitySharm El Sheikh


  • Geotechnical asset management
  • Levees
  • Real-Time monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Engineering


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