4 Major Civil Engineering Blunders Caused by Faulty Measurement
Accurate and reliable measurement is the foundation of all civil engineering works and structures. Without it, engineering machines will break down, buildings will collapse, and vehicles will crash.
Precise measurement assures that all gears are fitted correctly to produce a continuous motion; it ensures that structures are balanced and properly supported by its foundation, and it determines the correct distance needed to travel from one place to another.
Proper knowledge and skills in measurement is required to properly construct engineering works and structures. Lack of knowledge and miscalculations can result in catastrophic events.
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What Major Civil Engineering Blunders Were Results of Faulty Measurement?
The Great Kersten Blunder
The great Kersten Blunder is about the error made by Kersten (programmer) on the Vigor space probe's converting program. He made an error in the value of converting millimeters to inches. He mistakenly set the value to 24.5 instead of 25.4 which made the probe miss the planet Venus and was consequently lost in space. This Blunder cost the government over 2 billion dollars' worth of lost technology due to a simple measurement error.
Gulf War Patriot Missile Failure
An American Patriot missile failed to intercept an Iraqi Scud missile on February 25, 1991 in Dharan Saudi Arabia, resulting in the death of 28 soldiers in the American Army barracks. The failure to intercept was caused by a computer arithmetic programming error in calculating and measuring time.
Tokyo Disneyland's Space Mountain Derailment
The Space mountain roller coaster ride broke an axle during the middle of the ride causing one of the two roller coaster cars to derail on June 26, 2004. The reason why the axle broke is because of a conversion error from English units to Metric units.
The Gimli Glider
Air Canada flight 143 used up all its fuel halfway to its destination at an altitude of 41,000 feet on July 23, 1983. The Boeing 767-233 jet glided safely to the Gimli Industrial Park Airport and avoided disaster. The incident was caused by a measurement conversion error by the pilot on the fuel requirement of the flight.
Accurate measurement and analysis is crucial to the safety and stability of any engineering structure. Civil Engineering firm Godfrey-Hoffman & Hodge in Connecticut takes pride in providing clients with accurate survey results and planning in every service they provide.
About Adam Hoffman
Hoffman began his surveying career back in 1978 when he worked for his uncle, Bernard Godfrey. After graduating from Paul Smith’s College, he worked his way from rod-man to transit-man and eventually party-chief. In 1988 when Adam received his Land Surveying license, he and Mr. Godfrey formed Godfrey-Hoffman Associates. After 12 years of a great partnership, Mr. Godfrey retired which left Mr. Hoffman with the entire business.