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​​New App simplifies tunneling

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​​New App simplifies tunneling

The Q-system App can be installed on your smartphone in the near future.

NGI’s App for the Q-system is launched on Friday 27th November 2015, at the annual Norwegian Rock Mechanics Day.The purpose of the App is to simplify rock mass classification for tunneling and underground excavations. The target group is engineering geologists all over the world.

The App provides a new technology platform for “Using the Q-system”, a printed manual from NGI, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute.NGI thus wants to offer a practical tool which is easier to handle in dark and humid underground environments than a paper-based handbook.

The user of the Q-system App enters six parameter values based on visual observations of the rock mass.The App then automatically calculates the Q value.

”Most people carry their smartphone everywere. Therefore, an App simplifies work procedures and provides more control,” says Elin Morgan, head of Department for engineering geology and rock mechanics at NGI.

Today, the parameter values are typically registered manually, with Q value calculations carried out in the office as a separate procedure.

The Q-system was first developed by NGI in the 1970s and has undergone a series of revisions. It is a classification system for rock masses with respect to stability of underground openings, being used on a global basis.

The Q value is useful for the evaluation of support requirements in new underground projects. The handbook includes a rock support chart, based on empirical data from hundreds of examined cases. However, the support chart is not part of the first version of the Q-system App.

For Android and iPhone platforms

The App is now being tested and will be available in January 2016 for Android and iPhone. It can then be downloaded for free from Google Play and Apple App Store. The Q-system handbook is available at

”Ease of use and an intuitive user interface have been important criteria during the development process. We are therefore looking forward to reactions and feedback from the users, especially since it is still not commonplace to use Apps for technically advanced operations,” says Elin Morgan.

She emphasizes that the App is a supplement to the printed manual, and does not substitute it.The handbook was last updated in November 2015.

The Q-system is essential to the work philosophy known as the Norwegian Method of Tunneling, used by e.g. Indian Railways. Both in 2014 and 2015 a team of Indian railway engineers have received training in the Q-system and Norwegian tunneling technology at NGI in Oslo.

The App is developed by NGI in close cooperation with the software company Symfoni Next AS.

FORE MORE INFORMATION: Elin Morgan   Tel +47 996 22 202




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The Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) is a leading international centre for research and consulting within the geosciences. NGI develops optimum solutions for society, and offers expertise on the behaviour of soil, rock and snow and their interaction with the natural and built environment.
NGI works within the markets Offshore energy; Building, construction and transportation; Natural hazards, and Environmental Engineering.
NGI is a private foundation with office and laboratory in Oslo, branch office in Trondheim, and daughter companies in Houston, Texas, USA, and Perth, Western Australia. NGI was established in 1953.

Street address: Sognsveien 72, Oslo. Post: P O Box 3930 Ullevaal Stadion, NO-0806 Oslo.
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