Campaign monitoring in heavy construction

Case Study

Kaeppeli Digital team photo

Author: Katja Omlor & Megan Hansen

Campaign monitoring in heavy construction: Käppeli Digital AG

Käppeli Digital AG is a growing, future-oriented company based in Sargans, Switzerland that continuously searches for solutions to improve the services and support they provide customers. In line with this philosophy, the company decided to offer automated and campaign monitoring. The importance of monitoring is growing in heavy construction as the rapid execution of projects requires enhanced focus on worker safety and structural health.

The related case study, “Monitoring and the Future of Construction,” describes an automated monitoring project Käppeli Digital carried out during a sewage treatment plant renovation to ensure the safety of a nearby railway line. This article focuses on the context, tools and methods of campaign monitoring and presents a variety of interesting campaign monitoring projects Käppeli Digital has completed for a wide range of customers. 

What is campaign monitoring?

In campaign monitoring, a surveyor in the field completes manual measurements at defined intervals. For example, a surveyor initially measures points for the current epoch with a total station and then transmits the data to the office for analysis. The surveyor then repeats that same measurement weekly, monthly or over another determined period to calculate site movements with respect to the null epoch, or the initial results. In automated monitoring, on the other hand, an instrument is set up, configured to take measurements at defined, often frequent intervals and left in the field for an extended time.

Man monitoring with Leica Geosystems digital level

Deciding between automated and campaign monitoring

The decision between automated and campaign monitoring comes down to two factors – the measuring interval and the expected costs. The decision lies with the client and hinges on the main question of when it is profitable to implement automated monitoring. If daily measurements are required, it likely does not make sense from a cost or time perspective to send a surveyor to the site every day to perform measurements.

“We take a very analytical approach to tenders – we always keep the client's interests in mind. As project descriptions are often general, we provide a precise projection,” explains Käppeli Digital’s Managing Director, Pascal Bonderer.

“We look at the overall project duration and propose the best solution. To us the best solution is more than our employees just using reliable tools and software – it also includes the method of implementation, either automated or campaign monitoring,” says Bonderer, summarising their approach. “The client's final decision is driven by the total cost and safety requirements.”

The experts at Käppeli Digital suggest appropriate measurement intervals that will provide data accuracy and eliminate any outliers caused by changing environmental conditions, like rain, snowfall or fog. Normally, a test phase is carried out before the start of a monitoring project to check all the project’s conditions and circumstances. Well-planned monitoring can also eliminate accountability and safety issues.

man performing monitoring measurements with Leica Geosystems total station   

Moving from manual to automated monitoring

Every surveyor has encountered monitoring in their professional life – even unconsciously. As soon as an object has been measured several times and the data subsequently analysed, you're dealing with an initial, manual monitoring project.

In phase two of manual or campaign monitoring, manual measurements become semi-automated. When a totally automated installation is not required but completely manual measurement and analysis methods have become inefficient, some automation of the monitoring process enhances campaign monitoring solutions. For example, with the TPS monitoring application, the surveyor "teaches" the total station how to carry out the survey and which points to measure. The application then automatically measures the points with the simple push of a button and performs quality control at the same time. Although surveyors are still on site conducting the survey, the features of Leica Geosystems’ automated total stations make getting started with campaign monitoring simple and efficient.

Käppeli Digital's campaign monitoring toolbox

While Käppeli Digital regularly installs and operates automated monitoring solutions, the majority of their monitoring projects include campaign monitoring. For one-person surveying during monitoring tasks, Käppeli Digital AG uses the following Leica Geosystems equipment:

This equipment makes up the ideal monitoring solution when combined with the following software:

screenshot of Leica Geosystems monitoring software

Interesting projects for a wide range of customers 

Railway monitoring:

  • Long-term monitoring since 2017: This project involves a rail track area survey of approximately 1.3 kilometres, including the displacement of the mast points using a Leica Nova MS50 MultiStation. Surveyors conduct settlement measurements of the mast points using a Leica LS15 digital level, measure the change in inclination with a high-precision inclinometer and evaluate the data using Leica GeoMoS Now!
  • Track survey (settlement measurement): This project measured position changes using permanently mounted measuring prisms on the rail sleepers and catenary supports with subsequent analysis of the measurements in Leica GeoMoS Now!

Monitoring pillars in an underground mine:

The pillars in an underground mine were scanned with a Leica RTC360 3D-laser scanner. Then a point cloud was meshed and compared to current scans using Leica Cyclone 3DR for point cloud management and analysis.

Settlement checks:

  • New build: The project checked recently constructed buildings for settlement with a Leica LS15 digital level and the data was analysed in Leica GeoMoS Now!
  • Extending a silo plant: A total station was used with fixed prisms to measure the settlement of the existing tower. The data was imported into Leica GeoMoS Now! for analysis.
  • Monitoring of excavation work: The total station, measuring prisms and GeoMoS Now! combination described above was used to monitor ground anchors.
  • Settlement monitoring of adjacent structures: Construction projects can impact adjacent buildings. To ensure safety, measurements are carried out with Total Stations on measuring prisms and analysed in monitoring software.
  • Track underpinning: When pipelines are constructed under railway tracks, the settlement measurement is crucial for continuing the work safely. For this, Käppeli Digital uses a Leica LS15 digital level and analyses the data in Leica GeoMoS Now!

Excavation monitoring:

An excavation pit, which was open for 6 months, had a depth of up to 12 metres. The soldier pile wall, which prevented soil from sliding into the excavation pit, consisted of shoring systems with retaining and sheet-pile walls. Käppeli Digital’s surveyors monitored the bracing of the retaining wall using MultiStation measurements of fixed prisms and analysed the data with Leica GeoMoS Now!


monitoring work with Leica Geosystems prism

Käppeli Digital: The digital future of the construction industry

In campaign and automated monitoring, digitalisation plays a key role in the solutions Käppeli Digital offers to clients in the construction industry. From automated total stations enabling repeated and consistent measurements, to sophisticated monitoring software that enables robust analysis, informative reports and timely alerts, digitalisation in monitoring is key to Käppeli Digital’s strategy now and as they grow their business into the future.

Interested in monitoring? Please feel free to read further case studies, showing how our customers use our solution to improve their monitoring workflow:

Monitoring Case Studies

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Get in contact with us for more information about our monitoring solutions.
Get in contact with us for more information about our monitoring solutions.