In many research laboratories worldwide, a wide variety of specialist geotechnical instruments are available. These instruments are often quite elaborate and have been improved and/or developed through research projects and doctoral theses. Often the presentation of the design of these aparatuses is “closed”, partly due to limited scope for publishing such information, partly due concerns about copyright. This includes the device as well as the configuration and control software. Due to this, it is difficult for others to reproduce the equipment and obtain similar data. This is accompanied by inadequately described test protocols, all of which lead to data sets containing a large number of so-called “dark data” making it difficult for interested scientists to use these data. If these data are then used for constitutive model development, the data can often only be used once, since scientists outside their own laboratory lack the information described above.

The OpenGeoLab initiative wants to help improve this situation by making the developed hardware and test protocols accessible and reproducible for different tests and devices. In addition, interested scientists have a platform for exchanging information and collaboration about Open Hardware and Open Source laboratory development in geotechnical engineering.