Digitisation of hard rock tunnel for remote fracture mapping and virtual training environment

Mateusz Janiszewski*, Lauri Uotinen, Alireza Baghbanan, Mikael Rinne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


The knowledge of geometrical properties of discontinuities is of crucial importance in the rock mass characterisation process. Recent advances in photogrammetry allow for an easy digitisation procedure of rock surfaces so that digital 3D models can be used for remote site characterisation.

This paper presents a methodology to digitise tunnel rock surfaces using Structure from Motion digital photogrammetry for remote measurements of discontinuities. The proposed method is applied on a 12 m long and 4 m high tunnel section of an underground research tunnel at Aalto University in Finland, which is scanned using Canon 5Ds R DSLR camera and Canon 14 mm f/2.8 and 35 mm f/1.4 lenses. The photos are then processed in commercially available photogrammetric software – RealityCapture.
As a result, a high-resolution 3D point cloud of the tunnel wall is produced. The point cloud is used for semi-automatic measurements of fracture orientations. In addition, a digital twin of the tunnel section with photorealistic surface texture is created and implemented into virtual reality (VR) system – Virtual Underground Training Environment (VUTE) developed for training of rock mass characterisation. The VUTE system enables remote visual inspection of the rock surface and virtual measurements of the orientation of discontinuities with designated virtual tools. The semi-automatic measurements extracted from the 3D point cloud using a discontinuity extractor software are compared with measurements performed in VR as well as with manual measurements performed in the tunnel. The results demonstrate that all three mapping methods identify three major joint sets with analogous orientations.

The automatic fracture mapping method achieves the highest density of the measurements, allows repeatability, and enables other parameters to be extracted automatically, such as persistence and spacing of the discontinuities. This confirms the advantage of automatic analysis of discontinuities on 3D point clouds of tunnel rock surface digitised using photogrammetry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISRM International Symposium - EUROCK 2020
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering Norwegian Group for Rock Mechanics
EditorsC.C. Li, H. Ødegaard, A.H. Høien, J. Macias
PublisherNorsk Betongforening
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-82-8208-072-9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventISRM International Symposium - Clarion Hotel & Congress, Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 14 Jun 202019 Jun 2020


ConferenceISRM International Symposium
Abbreviated titleEUROCK
Internet address


  • Digital photogrammetry
  • underground tunnel
  • rock mass characterization
  • point cloud
  • Virtual reality (VR)
  • Rock fracture


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