Stonecutter's bridge

Structural Health Database Monitoring System


The Structural Health Database Monitoring System was one of the first of its kind to be designed and deployed specifically to use big data analysis for continuous monitoring of the Stonecutter's Bridge in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong experiences weather patterns which are repeated every year, which include monsoon wind & rains, typhoons and even the occasional earthquake. In addition, because it is a cable-stayed bridge over water, there are possibility of ship collisions.

On every quarter end and year end, reports are submitted by the Highways Department of Hong Kong about the structural health of the bridge, which is then used for various purposes such as maintenance, budgeting for repair works and whether the bridge is within the expected parameters of the original design.

A comprehensive data warehouse system was requested that could capture information from a vast collection of sensors, store the data, and produce analytical reports automatically without requiring manual effort. And do process it quickly.

This report was previously manual and done in Excel, which would take months and significant manpower to accomplish.

The sensor data included sources such as accelerometers, anemometers, strain gauges, GPS, corrosion, weigh-in-motion, tiltmeters and even HD 1080p video capture.



Big Data

365-days of raw data is stored in SHDMS at total capacity of 6TB with external disk storage for a total of 30TB. 

Using MySQL Enterprise Edition, our independently verified benchmarks showed data retrievals of 50Hz data over a period of 3 months took no more than 5-10 minutes where both Oracle and DB2 took 5+ hours on the exact same server hardware.

To this day this capability remains unique among structural health monitoring systems.

Analytical Tools Integration

We developed open interfaces where tools such as MATLAB, FEMTools and ANSYS were able to connect directly to the database and retrieve the data for analysis.

No need for cumbersome import/export into proprietary formats. Reports were simply queued up and run when needed.

Fun Facts

  • The SHDMS system has survived flooding events during a Typhoon signal 10 in 2012
  • During a fire suppression drill, the server room was accidentally gassed with an argon/nitrogen fire suppressant. All systems remained functional
  • In the first year of operation, a signal 8 typhoon hit hong kong. It was the first time that real-time sensor data from all the sensors was able to be analysed at the same time, providing 3D modelling tools an exact frame of reference to monitor the structural stresses on the bridge.