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Magazine of Dispuut Geo-Engineering “De Ondergrondse”


De Ondergrondse has been working together with the Dutch engineering association “KIVI
Geotechniek” for quite some time now. In order to make this cooperation even better, KIVI
Geotechniek is offering the students of the Geo-Engineering section the possibility to join the
activities hosted by KIVI Geotechniek. These activities include excursions to conferences and more!
For most activities you need to be a member of KIVI Geotechniek and most are organized in Dutch.


If you would like to become a member of KIVI Geotechniek, send an email to


Sponsors 2
by Dianne Jacobs, Chair of de Ondergrondse
Dear students, staff members and sponsors, input from the GEEC is really valuable for the
teachers, to improve the online education to
By the time you receive this edition of the its fullest.
Mol, we’ve already been at home for several
weeks. Friday the 13th of March really was Unfortunately the GETA to Northern Ita-
an unlucky day when our beloved TU Delft ly also had to be cancelled. Right now that
had to close down. This also meant that all committee is now active. Also the board is
our activities had to be cancelled, at least up still busy: we are thinking about organizing
until the summer break. online activities! And of course we are think-
ing of activities after the social distancing is
But luckily this doesn’t mean that De Onder- over. Hopefully we will see you all soon!
grondse came to a complete stand still. As
you can see, the Mol committee still created
a new edition of the Mol! Since they couldn’t
send the Mol from the TU Delft to all the
members themselves, they arranged that the
printer directly sends the magazine to all the

In addition, the GEEC didn’t stop along with

on-campus education. Especially now, the

by Teodora Barbuntoiu
Welcome fellow readers to another edition alumni regarding their life experience as em-
of de Mol! We hope that you are well and ployees. Be sure to also expect articles on
healthy given the current situation. MDPs, fieldworks and other activities organ-
ized by the Ondergrondse in future editions
This edition is the work of our new team of the magazine. We will also try to spice
of editors, made of 1st year Geo-Engineer- things up by including sections on the Inter-
ing MSc students. Under the supervision of national Corner and fun articles.
Frode, our Commissioner of Activities, the
team composed of Simon, Maarten, Gokul We hope you will enjoy this edition of de Mol
and myself Teodora, have managed to col- and do not hesitate to reach out to us about
lect several articles we believe our readers articles you wish to see in the future.
will enjoy exploring.

Over the course of this year, de Mol expects

to publish 4 editions, each focusing on a par-
ticular theme. This edition explores the field
of offshore engineering. Our team strives to
include various articles presenting different
perspectives, such as interesting internships
from the experience of our dear colleagues,
the latest research and thesis subjects, along
with interviews with our Geo-Engineering

3 From the Board | Editorial

From the Board 3
Editorial 3
Geotechnical Intern at BAM 5
Geotechnical Engineer - SPT Offshore 7
RILATM : Geodetic backbone for railway
infrastructure 9
India Special 11
Survey Results 14

by Ylana van Hout
My name is Ylana and Why did you choose for BAM?
I did an internship at
the geotechnical de- During my masters I already visited some
partment of BAM In- engineering firms, but not yet a construction
ternational, located in company with its own engineering depart-
The Hague. I have been ment. That is why I chose for a contractor.
a full-time intern for 3 Then I just chose the biggest one in the Neth-
months and I worked erlands and gave them a call if they would
on various projects, but be interested in having an intern. Their ge-
mostly on the construction of five bridges otechnical engineering department consists
in Guinea, Africa. My job was to calculate of approximately 25 people, of which only
the pile capacities and in order to make the one woman, and I was their first intern. They
calculation process more accurate, faster were very positive about having an intern, so
and useable for other projects, I wrote a Py- they would now like to have more (graduate)
thon script for them, with a manual, so they interns at their department.
can also use this for future projects.
What did you do on a daily basis at the
Why did you choose to do an internship? company?

I chose to do an internship as I had very The first few weeks I mostly joined my su-
little experience in the professional world, pervisor in his meetings and helped with
especially regarding to Geo-Engineering. I his projects. After that I was more or less
wanted to know whether this could help me busy with my own project, constructing a
in choosing a working field after finishing pile calculations script in order to calculate
my studies, as I had really no idea what I the pile bearing capacities and shaft resist-
wanted to do later on. It is nice that you can ances. I have not only worked on my pro-
receive ECTS for it, but nevertheless I would ject, but I have also participated and visit-
have wanted to do a small internship. ed various sites, such as their asphalt plant,

6 Internship
Is the internship going to help you choose
your career path?

I really enjoyed the internship, I met a lot

of different people and I got a very clear
image of what it is like to work at a con-
tractor. I definitely want to do my thesis
at a different kind of company, so I have
a good comparison. I am however still not
sure yet where I would like to work after
my studies.

building sites, the ‘Geotechniekdag’, depart- What did you discover about yourself dur-
ment meetings, strategy days and a safety ing the internship?
workshop. The sites I visited were the lock
of Terneuzen, the new underground bicycle Before starting the internship, I was pretty
parking in Zwolle and the Afsluitdijk in Den nervous, I did not know what I could ex-
Oever. These visits have shown what it is like pect and how I should behave. But actually
to work on site, which is a whole other story after already two days everything was very
than sitting behind your computer. For the relaxed, I was completely myself and could
Afsluitdijk I have even stayed overnight at say anything that came up in my head and
their employee sleeping boat and worked in I was able to joke around with my col-
the ‘Levvel Keet’. During lunch in the Hague leagues a lot. I also think that because it
we would take a small walk with the depart- was almost only men there, it was easier
ment, which was nice because you could to be very direct to them, to fool around
speak to all the employees casually. Further- and to tell them every opinion I had with-
more, every Friday the other interns and I out them feeling offended in any way. The
would drink beers in the bar downstairs and most important lesson I learned was that
convince our colleagues to join us, which was it is very valuable to be yourself at work, as
also very fun. that really prevents you of being exhaust-
ed after every working day. This aspect was
also something I returned as very positive
feedback from my supervisor.

Internship 6
by Vlad Vacareanu
Hello, Geo-Engineering colleagues. My At the start of my second year of the master’s
name is Vlad Vacareanu and I am writing program, I approached Dr. Federico Pisano
this article to share with you my experience to do a thesis with him on offshore geotech-
as a TU Delft Geo Engineering Alumni. Cur- nical engineering. His interests aligned with
rently, I am working as a geotechnical en- mine and I thoroughly enjoyed his course
gineer at SPT Offshore in the Netherlands. and him as a professor.

SPT Offshore is the leading offshore con- During my second year of studies, I have also
tractor for suction pile anchors and foun- worked as a teaching assistant in the Struc-
dations. SPT Offshore manages and under- tural Engineering Faculty, supporting Apos-
takes EPCI project worldwide, from installing tolos Tsouvalas with his course ‘Structural
single-suction anchors to mooring lines and Response to Earthquakes’ and worked part-
self-installing platforms. time at SPT Offshore towards the end of my
After the completion of my bachelor studies
at the Technical University of Civil Engineer- The work I did at SPT was independent of my
ing of Bucharest in Romania with a focus on Master Thesis. Federico connected me with
earthquake design of high-rise buildings, I SPT Offshore.
applied to the master’s program in Geo-En-
gineering at TU Delft. Once graduated in January 2019, I have tak-
en a well-deserved holiday in South-East
I arrived in Delft, The Netherlands about Asia. During my trip, I got an invitation to an
two weeks before the start of my studies, interview from SPT Offshore for a full-time
therefore having plenty of time to get ac- position. The interview went well and I got
commodated and to get started with dis- offered the job.
covering the country.

Overview picture of the wellhead platform foundation being relocated.

7 Alumni Corner
During my time at SPT Offshore, I have Also, keep in touch with your colleagues as
worked on numerous tenders, designed the they might present you with opportunities.
first-ever platform relocation in one piece Good luck and All the Best!
in South East Asia, one deep-water founda-
tion in Asia and am currently working on two If you have any questions, please contact
wellhead platform foundations in the North me by e-mail at vlad.vacareanu@gmail.com

I am very thankful to all my colleagues at

SPT Offshore who have been and still are ex-
tremely supportive. It is a great company to

work at.

Looking back to my master’s program at TU

Delft, I do think my favourite subject and the
most critical one was ‘Behaviour of Soils and
Rocks’ taught by Ronald. That course covers
from simple to very advanced, state of the
art soil mechanics.
My master thesis summary can be found in
No matter the company that you will work the following paper on the repository for
for after graduation, you will always meet any of you that are interested:
with the fundamental concepts of soil me-
chanics. As for tips, I recommend you focus 3D FE seismic analysis of a monopile-sup-
on understanding the concepts in your stud- ported offshore wind turbine in a non-lique-
ies. Try to make a good impression on your fiable soil deposit
master thesis supervisor, as he or she can be
instrumental in you finding a job.

Alumni Corner 8
Fugro Editorial

RILA™: Geodetic backbone for rail infrastructure

RILA technology has been used in the Netherlands since 2011 and since that time Fugro has surveyed
over 9000 kilometres of track, from which data have been delivered to ProRail. The data comply with
the ProRail RLN00296 standard for absolute track geometry. The data are used as design input for many
projects and also to update the SIGMA database with the track alignment information.

Applying RILA technology on a project is proven to increase safety performance: the amount of boots
on ballast for obtaining the same type of data is reduced by 97 %. It also improves project lead times
and significantly reduces costs.

Accurate location of assets

Mileages are commonly used to identify assets on or near the railway. However, a mile along a railway
is not necessarily 1760 yards, nor is a mile post positioned at the mile it is indicating, so an ‘exact’
location is never exact. For linear assets defining the location is even more complex. Today’s buzzwords
are Big Data, data-mining, machine-learning and artificial intelligence. Data techniques try to combine
all relevant information of an asset to define its status. However, the asset data are usually stored in
different databases, and linking disparate information is difficult because the location description varies

Surveyors use GPS-supported surveying tools to obtain their X,Y and Z position. This type of survey is
also known as a terrestrial survey and can be combined with lidar data. The disadvantages of terrestrial
surveys within the railway environment are safety (surveyors need to be on or near the track), long lead
times and cost.

RILATM technology
Fugro’s innovative RILA technology enables accurate geodetic XYZ coordinates of assets to be obtained
in a safe and affordable way. Both standalone assets and linear assets can be surveyed using the RILA
system. The RILA system is attached to revenue-earning trains (passenger or freight) to survey the track
and its surroundings at line speed. This removes the need for track possessions or additional train paths,
which is a huge advantage of RILA.

Digital twin
The RILA Digital Twin consists of two sets of merged point clouds draped with video footage; to clarify,
the points of a point cloud are recorded laser dots (points) that reflect when hitting a surface or object.
The rail scanners produce a scan of both railheads at an accuracy of 0.3 mm. If a train travels at 140
km/u, a cross section is produced every 8 cm. A lidar scanner rotates approximately perpendicular to
the track to produce a 360° point cloud of the track and its surroundings. Because the three video
cameras are connected to the other scanners, the video footage is positionally merged with the
processed point cloud. This provides an immersive view of the track corridor, with the added possibility
of taking measurements directly in the footage.

The next step is feature extraction, whereby assets are defined and extracted. As the shape, location and
position are now known, feature extraction groups the points which are part of an asset. When the data
are updated after a sequential survey run, any change or movement (removal, repositioning or
displacement etc.) of the asset can be detected and reported using artificial intelligence and machine-
learning applications. These technologies can now perform faster as only a small dataset needs to be
searched: the XYZ coordinates of the asset!

With everything now in XYZ, it is easy to calculate the mileage position of assets. The result? When a
user clicks on an asset in the video or point cloud, all the relevant data of this asset are displayed and

Survey frequency philosophy

Many different sensors and systems are available for track surveys. At one end of the spectrum, sensors
permanently fixed to passenger trains record accelerations and provide insight into potential rough-
ride areas. At the other end are the big measurement trains which operate in the Netherlands and
provide information on track safety parameters such as track gauge, twist, rail integrity, OHL wire
condition and condition of fasteners.

However, none of these systems provides the engineering data that maintenance teams need to execute
measured corrective actions Of course, engineering data need to be both current and accurate. This
means that the survey frequency of these systems should be: daily, to quickly prevent potential track
geometry incidents; bi-monthly, for asset trend analysis and restoration/repair activities; and finally,
half-yearly or yearly, for safety surveys via dedicated measurement trains. The frequency of the
dedicated measurement trains will very much depend on the risk profiles associated with the
importance of the different routes. The three survey methodologies are complementary and provide
mutual calibration platforms.

The geodetic digital twin created by Fugro, especially when linked to mileages, is a powerful tool from
which many different types of information can be extracted. The basic application is location awareness:
video footage of the track and surrounding area show all the details at that location, much like Google
street view but for railways.

. For more details on the potential applications, please visit www.fugro.com/raildata.

by Maarten Zijlstra
This edition of the MOL’s international
geo-corner features an interview with sev-
eral first-year Geo-Engineering students
from India. Ammaan Zahoor (24), Gokul
Krishan Balaji (22), Joseph Jacob (22), Kes-
hav Kashichenula (23), Shardul Mantri (23)
and Himani Arya (24) were willing to par-

Where are you from within India?

Keshav: Hyderabad, Telangana
Gokul: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Shardul: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra
Joseph: Kochi, Kerala
Ammaan: Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Himani: Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh

Why did you choose Geo-Engineering at

the TU Delft?
Everyone:TU Delft is one of the top univer-
sities in Civil Engineering in the world. an internship in the Middle East concerning
Keshav: Geo-engineering is one of the foundation engineering, which I found very
least focused specifications opted in In- interesting has a lot of potential in India. I
dia though it is a much needed one. And heard about TU from a friend who did the
my interest in Geo-Engineering developed same track here a few years back.
during my research work on discrete ele- Ammaan: I chose Geo-Engineering because
ment analysis which was also my final year I believe that the subsurface holds a lot of
thesis. future space for infrastructure.
Gokul: I chose Geo-Engineering because Himani: I chose Geo-Engineering because of
it’s the least pursued track in civil engineer- my interest in soil mechanics in my Bachelor.
ing and I developed a genuine interest dur-
ing an internship. What is a popular site in your region from
Shardul: I developed interest in geotechni- which we might know it?
cal engineering by working on a project for Keshav: Hyderabad is known for its food and
around 2.5 years. for a famous monument called Charminar
Joseph: I personally feel the structural en- (mosque), which is more than 400 years old.
gineering field has way too many engineers. Gokul: Chennai in Tamil Nadu is one of the
I wanted to learn something different. I did major four cities (a so-called metro city) in
India. It is well-known for the marina beach,
the largest beach (in a city) in the world.
Shardul: Pune, where I went to college, is
famous for its education and diversity, while
Ahmednagar (hometown) has great histori-
cal importance.
Joseph: Kerala is also named ‘God’s own
country’ and is well-known for Kovalam
beach. Most famous is the Padmanabhas-
wamy temple with a treasure worth up to 1
trillion dollars.
11 International Geo-Corner
Ammaan: Jammu and Kashmir is the north-
ernmost part of India. It’s a popular desti-
nation for tourists, of which the Dal Lake at
Srinagar is probably the most famous. It is
a mountaneous region, so many ski-resorts
can also be found.
Himani: The most popular tourist attraction
in my region is Taj Mahal.

What are some characteristics of your re-

Everyone: Food
Himani: Every state in India has their own
way of cooking food and has a different cui-
sine. I think that the northern part adds more

Ammaan: Also, everyone has their own lan-
guages in India [e.g. 22 official languages].
There are even different languages and dia-
lects within states.
Joseph: I’d say that it is often like going to a Joseph: The situation with bikes here is
different country. also totally different.
Ammaan: Cricket is an exception, cricket Shardul: In India biking is crazy and unsafe,
unites India! especially during rush hours.
Joseph: Many people in India travel by
What was hard to get used to after coming metro or train. If you really want to expe-
to the Netherlands and what did you like or rience life, you have to travel in all classes,
was really similar? from lowest to highest.
Gokul: The food and lifestyle are hard to get Shardul: Lower class is the best. It’s the
used to. The food here is really bland. Also, most fun you can have, crazy things hap-
the lifestyle here is quiet on a daily basis, In- pen there.
dia is noisy 24/7.
Joseph: Also, people in India are more col- If you could import one thing from home,
lective instead of individualistic. what would it be?
Gokul: True, people in general are more Everyone: The food culture, it’s much bet-
moved by emotions in India than in The ter in India. The cuisine in The Netherlands
Netherlands. They value emotions more. An- is not in anyway comparable to the Indian.
other difference is the absence of ceiling fans Shardul: This is partly because of the many
or air conditioning here. types of streetfood that you can find in In-
Keshav: A point I would like to add is the dia.
wind. I hate the rain, but I love the wind here. Keshav: We have for example something
At home the climate can be suffocating and similar to your ‘Oliebollen’ (fried dough)
is very hot. The first time I set my foot over called Mysore Bajji.
here I was like: This place is beautiful, I just Joseph: I have to say that the food culture
need some spices with it. is a matter for complaints even among In-
Himani: It is very hard to adapt to the weath- dians.
er. It changes like every hour, so you have to
carry your rain coat and pants everywhere as ‘Athithi Devo Bhavva’
you never know when it will start raining. (‘treat your guest like god’)

International Geo-Corner 12
for complex

Do you share our passion for complex challenges

in the field of infrastructure and underground

construction? Would you like to work at a company

that engages in challenging infrastructural (tunnel)

projects in an international setting?

Do you feel at home in an informal work environment,

where you are given the space to develop yourself and

initiative is highly valued?

We’re looking for you!

For academic starters we offer a two-year traineeship. Apply by sending your resume and
motivation to info@arthecs.nl. For more information please contact A. Bäcker or
M. Brugman, tel. 030-638 45 54, or check out our website www.arthecs.nl.

Very poorly.

Contact Circulation: 250
“De Ondergrondse“
p/a Stevinweg 1, Room 0.0.43 Editors: Gokul Krishan Balaji, Teodora Barbuntoiu,
2628 CN Delft Simon Dehout, Frode van der Drift, Maarten Zijlstra

T | 015 - 278 2778 Map India: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:In-

E | ondergrondse@tudelft.nl dia-locator-map-blank.svg
Taj Mahal: Karola Buzas on Unsplash
W | www.ondergrondse.nl Cover: Pixabay
Sponsor Page: Martin Damboldt

Survey Results | Colophon 14