An NGI innovation – EMerald’s history

EMerald Geomodelling is based on over 10 years of experience and research in the fields of innovative airborne geophysics for geotechnical use by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI). Here are some of the major milestones that led to EMeralds success:

2017 International project during construction phase: 

Prior international surveys for tunnel projects in Zambia and Bhutan provided the basis for an exceptional assignment in South America. We carried out a survey in the high Andes to support a hydropower project during the tunnel construction phase. In this unique setting, the project owner utilized the provided models to reduce the geological risk during construction contract re-negotiations.

2015 Regional railway planning survey: 

Inspired by the successes for road planning projects, the Norwegian national rail administration commissioned a regional airborne survey. These surveys were to support the nation’s largest railway development project — the InterCity project— in which 270 km of new double-track, high-speed railways were developed to connect the nation’s capital (Oslo) with surrounding areas.

The geotechnical engineer responsible for the project at the time, Anne-Lise Berggren, took the leap to invest, helping to reduce geological uncertainty early in theproject. In just 6 weeks, we covered 650 km2 and provided bedrock models that were used in further planning work.

2013 Road planning survey: 

To increase the efficiency of soil investigations for the planning of 32 km new highway in SE Norway, we conducted the first airborne geotechnical geoscanning survey in Norway. Our aims were to map bedrock topography and reveal soil properties related to quick clay occurrence.

We conducted this pilot project within ongoing design works involving consultants from NGI and Cowi in a contract owned by the Norwegian public road administration (SVV). Arvid Sagbakken (SVV), Frode G Bjørvik (Cowi) and Steinar Herman (NGI) were the responsible geotechnical engineers that took the risk of trying an untested method in an ongoing project. The risk proved worthwhile as the survey results lead to a reduction in overall soil investigation costs.

2009 First survey in Norway: 

We conducted our first Norwegian airborne geoscanning survey within a larger rock slide hazard research project. In Western Norway, one million cubic meters of rock are gradually moving towards Aurlandsfjord, posing a large hazard to residents and tourists. We tested whether this technology could identify sliding planes and thereby reveal mechanisms behind this movement of rock. Indeed, the survey successfully mapped sliding planes and major weakness zones along a planned drainage tunnel alignment.

Aurlandmunicipality, E-CO Energi and the Norwegian research council funded this study. Bjørn Sture Rosenvold (Aurland Municipality), Ola Gunleiksrud (E-CO), Ulrik Domaas (NGI), and Eystein Grimstad (NGI) were the open-minded stakeholders that supported this innovative approach with success.

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