How to Make the Most of Your Bridge Inspection Data - Defect Database

Bridge inspectors collect large amounts of data to ultimately create an inspection report. Beyond reporting, what other insights can be extracted?

The most common data extracted in-field is defect data namely defect name, type, location, description, and picture. These various data points unlock unlimited insights, we will discuss three in this blog:

  • Repair Prioritization

  • Identifying Components with the Highest Number of Defects

  • Tracking Structure Health Progress

Repair Prioritization

With clients owning hundreds of structures and each structure containing multiple defects and observations, the ultimate question is: what defect(s) should we repair first? Is it the highest priority one? Is it the medium priority one but located on a sensitive bridge component? It is very complicated to decide without having all of the data in front of us. To do so we suggest creating something that we call a “Defect Database”. In very simple terms, it is a table with the columns being the various parameters collected on defects in the field. At this point, your client will have all the data in a single place ready to be analyzed.


An example is shown below:


In the example above we start by sorting the defects by “Priority”. Next, is to compare the defects based on the various parameters such as “Defect Type”, “Component” and “Date” to choose which defects to repair first and build your repair strategy.


Identifying Components with the Highest Number of Defects


Another insight that can be extracted is knowing where most of your defects are occurring. This helps your client optimize their repair efforts. For instance, if they are sending a repair crew to a specific location, they can do more work on other defects in that same location during the visit.


Using our Defect Database from the previous example we sort our data by “Structure” then by “Component” to identify which component has the highest number of defects. We find the deck of bridge BR02 and the Box Girder of bridge BR03 to have 3 defects each. If there is a repair crew doing some work on the Box Girder of BR03 you can benefit from this opportunity to fix 3 additional repairs without having to schedule another visit.

Tracking Structures Health Progress

Using the defect database created earlier, you and your client can monitor the health of a bridge or a specific component over a period of time so you can act at the right moment. This information also helps you and your client monitor defects after repairs to determine whether the repair was successful or not. Taking our Defect Database example, we start sorting by ”Structure” and then by ”Date”.


We can infer the following:

  • The high priority crack captured in 2018 was not captured anymore in 2020, meaning that the repair was successful.

  • The structure had 3 new defects in 2020 than 2018 a 3x increase.

Unlock these insights and many more with Data Recon.

All these insights and many more can be easily accessed using Data Recon, a bridge inspection software for electronic data collection, automatic reporting generation and data analytics. Learn more about it here.



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