With accomplishments in over 15 countries, GKM Consultants is now known nationally and internationally for its expertise in the design, installation and implementation of turnkey geotechnical monitoring systems. GKM Consultants has taken part in major projects, including notably the Tsankov Kamak hydroelectricity dam in Bulgaria, the Kesem irrigation dam in Ethiopia, the potash Jansen mine shaft sinking project and the construction of the Ottawa light-rail train tunnel both in Canada. A typical system is built from the ground up using robust, reliable and cutting-edge geotechnical instruments. This solid foundation lends support to user-friendly data acquisition devices and monitoring services, which range from simple data-logging machines to sophisticated systems that relay the acquired data to a central server. GKM Consultants also provides a range of geotechnical services like instruments installation, data hosting and monitoring that provide functionalities such as alarm handling and management and remote data visualization.
The strength of the systems designed by GKM Consultants lies in the geotechnical instruments themselves, which are capable of measuring a wide array of parameters. A typical installation may require long-term monitoring of water pressure levels (piezometers), deformation of the various parts of a structure, wall or tunnel (joint meters), or measures of angles (tiltbeams). Other commonly used instruments include those for soil and rock deformation (settlement systems, multi-point borehole extensometers and in-place inclinometers), structural deformation (strain-meters), pressure within structures (pressure cells) and vibration (geophones). Our company’s expertise covers every step of the way, from choosing the right instrument types for a given project to selecting the appropriate model for each type and overseeing installation. Indeed, geotechnical instruments can be installed directly by our expert team or by the client’s team with appropriate technical support. This ensures the instruments are fully functional, correctly installed and are able to fulfill all requirements. In short, our know-how and experience guarantee the best geotechnical instruments will be provided and installed for every type of project.
The pillars of GKM Consultants’ systems are its data acquisition systems. The geotechnical services we offer include the design, programming and maintenance of data-logging systems that probe each instrument and store values for each of them. This can significantly cut the costs normally associated with having an employee make regular rounds to record each measure manually. Additionally, information stored on the data logging systems is never lost, providing an extra layer of data safety. Our data logging systems have proven rugged and reliable, easily outliving the projects for which they were designed. These systems have been installed in remote locations and are fully autonomous, while others have been set up in mines and structures and are fully integrated with the infrastructure. By properly selecting the right communications method, logging system and electrical power sources, GKM Consultants’ geotechnical monitoring systems ensure reliability, redundancy and safety.
Data hosting and long term monitoring
Finally, the keystone of GKM Consultants’ systems is our value-added geotechnical services, such as data hosting, alarm monitoring and remote data management systems. The data logging systems can be connected remotely through cellular modems, satellite modems or regular Internet connections to GKM Consultants’ servers, where all data is backed up and can be accessed. Our servers provide configurable real-time e-mail alarms that ensure, for example, maintenance teams can be notified when a data logger system’s battery is low, thereby facilitating preventive maintenance, or engineers are alerted when values for any single geotechnical instrument fall beyond a safe range. In addition to alarm handling and data hosting, all data can be displayed in a myriad of ways, including through time graphs showing long-term trends, wind roses or histograms. Specialized graphs, such as displacement graphs (typically used to represent in-place inclinometer data) and heat maps are also available. A robust data management system allows GKM Consultants and our clients to edit data, ensure its consistency and export it to other specialized tools. This cutting-edge geotechnical service lets clients remotely access their data at any time and make informed decisions on the progress of their project. Moreover, through the use of our remote data management system, otherwise difficult-to-pinpoint information can be distilled from raw data with automated calculations. This can be performed on any data extracted from geotechnical instruments and improve the effectiveness of geotechnical monitoring programs. In short, our geotechnical services provide flexibility and safety by remotely hosting data, making it available at all times and providing powerful data management and visualization tools.
GKM Consultants is proud to take part in the development of mining operation and expansion projects, as well as in major infrastructure monitoring work, both in Canada and abroad. Our experience, in-depth knowledge of geotechnical instruments and ability to gather and integrate data at every stage of major, complex projects make us a key player for any project requiring geotechnical monitoring.