John L. Tishman Distinguished Lecture

Start Date: 
Monday, February 8, 2016 - 2:30pm to 4:00pm

2355 GG Brown

Burcu Akinci

Title: Sensors and Information Models for Construction and Infrastructure Management


Engineers and managers involved in construction and facility/infrastructure operations need situational awareness about the as-is conditions when making daily decisions and developing short- and long-term plans. Yet, currently situational awareness of engineers is often challenged due to missing data and the available data not being in a format that is easily accessible and actionable. Advances in reality capture technologies, such as 3D imaging, in-situ sensing, equipment on-board instrumentation and electronic tagging, streamline the capturing of the as-is conditions on job sites.  The data collected from these technologies, integrated with building information models depicting the as-planned conditions, can help in creating and storing the history of as-is conditions of a facility to support a variety of decisions that engineers and managers need to make.

While the opportunities associated with integrating building information models and data capture technologies are compelling, several challenges that can be addressed through research exist for effective usage of these technologies. These include assessing the accuracy of the data collected at the field, developing and evaluating data processing and data fusion approaches, formalizing integrated representation of building information models and sensor and other relevant data, and investigating and developing approaches for analyzing and visualizing such integrated information models. This presentation will provide an overview of the opportunities and research challenges associated with integration sensor data with building information models and provide details on some specific research projects being conducted at Carnegie Mellon University that target addressing some of these challenges.  It will conclude with future research directions and opportunities in this area.


Dr. Burcu Akinci is the Paul Christiano Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Associate Dean for Research at the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.  She also co-directs Smart Infrastructure Institute which conducts research on data-driven awareness about infrastructure systems, advanced information models and visualization approaches, and proactive decision support.  

Dr. Akinci’s research interests modeling and reasoning about information rich histories of infrastructures systems, to streamline construction, operations and management.  She specifically focuses on investigating utilization and integration of building information models with data capture technologies, such as 3D imaging and embedded sensors to capture semantically-rich as-built histories of construction projects and infrastructure operations.

Dr. Akinci is the recipient of the Professor of the year award in 2011 from the ASCE Pittsburgh section, the CETI Outstanding Early Career Researcher award from FIATECH in 2008 and Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from ASCE in 2007. She has best paper awards from Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering in 2002, and from Construction Research Congress, ISARC and ICCCBE in 2009, 2011 and 2014 respectively.  

Dr. Akinci has one patent, two provisional patents and over 50 referred journal publications and 80 conference publications.  She co-edited books on CAD/GIS Integration and on Embedded Commissioning.


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