When Hexagon launched our company rebrand last June, one of the first things I wanted to do was take a look at our company’s vision to bring it more in line with who Hexagon is today. The statement that resulted is one of which I’m very proud, and one that explains exactly what drives us: Hexagon aspires to play a leading role in the effort to solve the challenges our world is facing through its design, measurement and visualisation technologies.
As I reiterated during my keynote at Hexagon 2012 in June, Hexagon is committed to empowering the world with actionable information in order to tackle the issues our planet is beginning to realise. We’ve identified these major challenges, which we call the global megatrends, and our R&D division is actively working across all of our brands to create solutions that directly address them.
One of the first technologies to come out of this charge is our comprehensive, integrated water infrastructure management system. We call it the Hexagon Hydrology Overall Solution – the H2O Solution, for short – and it is a collaboration between Intergraph®, Leica Geosystems and Z/I Imaging.
The H2O Solution incorporates Leica Geosystems’ total station and sensors, Intergraph’s monitoring and dispatch solutions and Z/I Imaging’s geospatial tools to provide a complete picture of the health of critical water infrastructure. The H2O Solution unites five role-based applications: operations and maintenance; risk assessment and management; emergency action planning; incidents and emergency response; and recovery and knowledge sharing. With the H2O Solution, it is now possible to monitor in real time and protect critical infrastructure such as dams and reservoirs, as well as surrounding property and life.
The H2O Solution addresses several of the global megatrends Hexagon has set out to help solve. Arguably, the most critical of these is aging infrastructure. While there are a number of new dams currently under construction in the developed world, in emerging countries, such as China and Brazil, roughly 85 percent of all dams, reservoirs and levees were built between 30 and 50 years ago. Small to mid-sized dams and levees seem to be at most risk of failing due to their often remote locations. Additionally, these smaller pieces of infrastructure do not carry large maintenance budgets and, therefore, do not employ solutions to monitor their health. In fact, the majority of floods and other infrastructure-related problems occur because of failures in small and mid-sized dams and levees that have not been adequately maintained. Real-time monitoring and overall better management of these by technologies, such as the H2O Solution, can reduce the risk of failures, as well as provide early warning and quicker emergency response.
Another global megatrend to take into account when discussing infrastructure is the ever-growing population. In terms of infrastructure, our world is designed to sustain a population of about half a billion people. We are now at seven billion people, and counting. As a result of this, people are now living in places that have been prone to natural disasters for decades. Population growth has put massive demand on the current infrastructure, and new infrastructure, such as dams, are continually being built to sustain the demand. As these infrastructure pieces are developed, the need to monitor and manage them to ensure their longevity intensifies.
In addition to the population continuing to grow, we are also seeing an increase in urbanisation right now. As people flood into cities, it is important that appropriate infrastructure, like reservoirs, exist to supply the city with water. Flood control also becomes a major issue, as original flood control designs typically do not taking into account the new, massive urban layouts to accommodate the millions moving into the cities, and people are building in these risky flood zones. Moreover, urbanisation calls for a higher demand for electricity, and, due to the world’s push for clean energy, hydroelectric dams are widely considered the best option, especially in emerging regions.
Finally, our H2O Solution addresses the world’s scarcity of resources. A clean, safe and consistent supply of drinking water is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity today, and securing the infrastructure to help with this issue is critical. It is imperative that we discover better ways to control, manage, secure and utilise our water resources. This requires innovative designs, engineering and construction methods, as well as real-time monitoring to ensure the security of the infrastructure that manages the water resources.
CISPDR, designer of China’s Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, will be the first to implement Hexagon’s H2O Solution. CISPDR will use our solution to monitor and manage the world’s largest-capacity power station, at 39.3 billion cubic metres, with a 22.15 billion cubic metre flood capacity. The power station is currently suppressing a 22-cubic-kilometre reservoir from the millions of people living downstream in the Three Gorges area. The impact of this project cannot be understated, and we look forward to working with CISPDR in the near future, helping to solve the global problems facing our world today.
Working together to protect the world’s critical infrastructure – that’s shaping change.