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Category: Technology
  • Snow-Covered Region Improvements to a Support Vector Machine-Based Semi-Automated Land Cover Mapping Decision Support Tool

    Abstract: This work builds on the original semi-automated land cover mapping algorithm and quantifies improvements to class accuracy, analyzes the results, and conducts a more in-depth accuracy assessment in conjunction with test sites and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). This algorithm uses support vector machines trained on data collected across the continental United States to generate a pre-trained model for inclusion into a decision support tool within ArcGIS Pro. Version 2 includes an additional snow cover class and accounts for snow cover effects within the other land cover classes. Overall accuracy across the continental United States for Version 2 is 75% on snow-covered pixels and 69% on snow-free pixels, versus 16% and 66% for Version 1. However, combining the “crop” and “low vegetation” classes improves these values to 86% for snow and 83% for snow-free, compared to 19% and 83% for Version 1. This merging is justified by their spectral similarity, the difference between crop and low vegetation falling closer to land use than land cover. The Version 2 tool is built into a Python-based ArcGIS toolbox, allowing users to leverage the pre-trained model—along with image splitting and parallel processing techniques—for their land cover type map generation needs.
  • The Impact of Practitioners’ Personality Traits on Their Level of Systems-Thinking Skills Preferences

    Abstract: In this study, we used a structural equation modeling method to investigate the relationship between systems engineers and engineering managers’ Systems-Thinking (ST) skills preferences and their Personality Traits (PTs) in the domain of complex system problems. As organizations operate in more and more turbulent and complex environments, it has become increasingly important to assess the ST skills preferences and PTs of engineers. The current literature lacks studies related to the impact of systems engineers and engineering managers’ PTs on their ST skills preferences, and this study aims to address this gap. A total of 99 engineering managers and 104 systems engineers provided the data to test four hypotheses posed in this study. The results show that the PTs of systems engineers and engineering managers have a positive impact on their level of ST skills preferences and that the education level, the current occupation type, and the managerial experience of the systems engineers and engineering managers moderate the main relationship in the study.
  • Numerical Modeling of Mesoscale Infrasound Propagation in the Arctic

    Abstract: The impacts of characteristic weather events and seasonal patterns on infrasound propagation in the Arctic region are simulated numerically. The methodology utilizes wide-angle parabolic equation methods for a windy atmosphere with inputs provided by radiosonde observations and a high-resolution reanalysis of Arctic weather. The calculations involve horizontal distances up to 200 km for which interactions with the troposphere and lower stratosphere dominate. Among the events examined are two sudden stratospheric warmings, which are found to weaken upward refraction by temperature gradients while creating strongly asymmetric refraction from disturbances to the circumpolar winds. Also examined are polar low events, which are found to enhance negative temperature gradients in the troposphere and thus lead to strong upward refraction. Smaller-scale and topographically driven phenomena, such as low-level jets, katabatic winds, and surface-based temperature inversions, are found to create frequent surface-based ducting out to 100 km. The simulations suggest that horizontal variations in the atmospheric profiles, in response to changing topography and surface property transitions, such as ice boundaries, play an important role in the propagation.
  • Data Acquisition Software for Impedance Tube Measurements

    Abstract: Transmission impedance tube measurements are necessary to measure the asymmetric acoustic property known as Willis coupling. However, software is required to measure and store data from an impedance tube for acoustic material characterization. This report details the overall structure of custom-developed software built from low-level functions. Software libraries from the data acquisition system as well as the HDF5 file system are the basis for the code. A command line user interface guides a user through the necessary steps in data collection.
  • A Review of Airfield Pavement Drainage Guidance

    Abstract: Inadequate drainage conditions may lead to airfield pavement deterioration. A thorough review of existing pavement drainage guidance and literature was necessary to identify key drainage considerations such as surface drainage infrastructure, pavement drainage layer thickness, use of geotextiles, and performance in freeze–thaw climates. Existing airport drainage guidance is provided by the Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Tri-Service Pavements Working Group (TSPWG). Pavement drainage guidance is buried within regulations for pavement de-sign and can, at times, be split awkwardly to accommodate pavement guidance that is split between rigid and flexible designs. Most airfield pavement guidance has been adapted from guidance for highway design. Most guidance is also strength based, with little to no attention paid to material erodibility (a potential cause of pavement deterioration). This review also found very little reference to repairing, rather than completely replacing, damaged subsurface drainage layers. Further research is needed to assess the use of geofabrics and moisture in freeze–thaw conditions on drainage layers and surface structures. With further research, the retrofit and repair of existing subpavement systems might become a more economical solution to drainage-caused pavement deterioration issues than complete reconstruction.
  • Incorporating Social and Environmental Outputs in Decision-Making: Workshop Outcomes

    PURPOSE: This document summarizes the notable outcomes of the workshop “Quantifying and Incorporating Social and Environmental Outputs in Decision-Making—Research and Development Needs and Strategy Workshop.” The workshop was held 24 and 25 July 2019 in Alexandria, Virginia, at the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR). The workshop sought to identify gaps in knowledge, methods, data, and tools and to identify types of subject matter experts who would be needed for the research team. A total of 22 participants attended the facilitated workshop, representing a broad array of expertise: economists, scientists, planners, social scientists, project managers, and researchers from a number of USACE organizations and partnering academics across the United States. Together, these attendees reviewed existing policy and research and prioritized future work to fill gaps in methods and procedures for incorporating social and environmental inputs across a broad range of USACE projects.
  • Old Post Reevaluation, Fort Huachuca, AZ

    Abstract: The US Congress codified the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), the nation’s most effective cultural resources legislation to date, mostly through establishing the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The NHPA requires Federal agencies to address their cultural resources, which are defined as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object. Section 110 of the NHPA requires Federal agencies to inventory and evaluate their cultural resources, and Section 106 requires them to determine the effect of Federal undertakings on those potentially eligible for the NRHP. Fort Huachuca is situated at the foot of the Huachuca Mountains in southern Cochise County, Arizona. It is located approximately 15 miles north of the border with Mexico and 75 miles southeast of Tucson. It was founded in 1877 as a frontier cavalry fort and remains one of the oldest military installations in the West. The objective of this report is to inventory the real property within Fort Huachuca’s Old Post, the historic core of the installation. Each resource is enumerated and accompanied by a list of reports discussing its potential NHL or NRHP eligibility. Subsequently, each resource is accompanied by a short description, which includes its location and current status within the recently created Old Post Historic District.
  • Development and Validation of a Balanced Mix Design Approach for CIR Mixtures Using Full-Scale Testing

    Abstract: The main goal of this study was to improve the performance of cold in-place recycling (CIR) mixtures by using a balanced mix design (BMD) approach. This study involved preparing and testing CIR mixtures in the lab at varying contents of bituminous additives and constant content of 1% cement and 3% water. Eight combinations of CIR mixtures were produced for this study using two binders (emulsion and foamed asphalt), compaction efforts (30 and 70 gyrations), and curing processes (72 hours at 140°F and 50°F). Results showed that asphalt pavement analyzer, semicircular bend, and indirect tensile strength tests presented the highest correlation with the change of binder contents. The study successfully used the developed BMD for designing CIR mixtures and selecting their optimum binder contents. It then used three balanced CIR mixtures to construct full-scale pavement sections to validate the BMD approach in the field. A heavy vehicle simulator was used to apply different accelerated loadings on each section. Results showed that the CIR section with 2% binder presented the best rutting performance under truck loading and the highest rutting susceptibility under aircraft loading. Conversely, the CIR section with 3% binder presented the highest cracking resistance under both truck and aircraft loading.
  • Resilience in Distributed Sensor Networks

    Abstract: With the advent of cheap and available sensors, there is a need for intelligent sensor selection and placement for various purposes. While previous research was focused on the most efficient sensor networks, we present a new mathematical framework for efficient and resilient sensor network installation. Specifically, in this work we formulate and solve a sensor selection and placement problem when network resilience is also a factor in the optimization problem. Our approach is based on the binary linear programming problem. The generic formulation is probabilistic and applicable to any sensor types, line-of-site and non-line-of-site, and any sensor modality. It also incorporates several realistic constraints including finite sensor supply, cost, energy consumption, as well as specified redundancy in coverage areas that require resilience. While the exact solution is computationally prohibitive, we present a fast algorithm that produces a near-optimal solution that can be used in practice. We show how such formulation works on 2D examples, applied to infrared (IR) sensor networks designed to detect and track human presence and movements in a specified coverage area. Analysis of coverage and comparison of sensor placement with and without resilience considerations is also performed.
  • Practical Guidance for Numerical Modeling in FUNWAVE-TVD

    Purpose: This technical note describes the physical and numerical considerations for developing an idealized numerical wave-structure interaction modeling study using the fully nonlinear, phase-resolving Boussinesq-type wave model, FUNWAVE-TVD (Shi et al. 2012). The focus of the study is on the range of validity of input wave characteristics and the appropriate numerical domain properties when inserting partially submerged, impermeable (i.e., fully reflective) coastal structures in the domain. These structures include typical designs for breakwaters, groins, jetties, dikes, and levees. In addition to presenting general numerical modeling best practices for FUNWAVE-TVD, the influence of nonlinear wave-wave interactions on regular wave propagation in the numerical domain is discussed. The scope of coastal structures considered in this document is restricted to a single partially submerged, impermeable breakwater, but the setup and the results can be extended to other similar structures without a loss of generality. The intended audience for these materials is novice to intermediate users of the FUNWAVE-TVD wave model, specifically those seeking to implement coastal structures in a numerical domain or to investigate basic wave-structure interaction responses in a surrogate model prior to considering a full-fledged 3-D Navier-Stokes Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model. From this document, users will gain a fundamental understanding of practical modeling guidelines that will flatten the learning curve of the model and enhance the final product of a wave modeling study. Providing coastal planners and engineers with ease of model access and usability guidance will facilitate rapid screening of design alternatives for efficient and effective decision-making under environmental uncertainty.