Digital rock mass characterization 2017 – Where are we now? What comes next?

Andreas Gaich, Markus Pötsch, Wulf Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


3GSM rolled out its first rock mass characterization system for conventional tunnelling in 2005. It consisted of a digital camera, as well as software components for 3D image generation and geologic mapping. It took several years before such a system became standard procedure on tunnelling sites. The same principles were applied later to mechanised tunnelling in hard rock using a TBM leading to its first regular application starting in 2016. This contribution provides a description of the state of the art in digital rock mass characterization, as well as possible extensions that are currently available such as the use of tablet computers for on site rock mass characterization or analytic (automatic) rock mass characterization. It ends with an outlook of what may come next in the near future, e.g. the use of mixed reality devices in the tunnel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-566
Number of pages6
JournalGeomechanics and Tunnelling
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • 3D image
  • Engineering geology
  • geologic mapping
  • Measuring technology
  • mixed reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital rock mass characterization 2017 – Where are we now? What comes next?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this