Software Applications for Monitoring Instrumentation Data

by Theresa C. Beckham, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Geotechnical Practice in Dam Rehabilitation


The initial program for reducing instrumentation data, used by the Geotechnical Branch of the Louisville District Corps of Engineers, was written in 1969. This program did not allow for field data entry, automatic transmittal of data to the District Office, processing, or historic comparison of data. The piezometric water surface elevations were manually calculated at the field offices. The instrumentation readings, along with the pool and tailwater elevations, were sent to the Dam Safety Section on pre-printed forms. Once the data was received at the District Office, it was preliminarily reviewed for anomalies and sent to the Information Management Office for keypunching. The keypunched data was then manually sorted into the appropriate files. Manipulation of the data was the most time-consuming aspect of the entire process, frequently causing backlogs. In 1988, development of new software was initiated to include capabilities of updating basic data and sorting data into appropriate files, as well as field data entry and automatic data transmittal. Coordination with the Information Management Office involved discussing system requirements, resulting in the development of efficient, user-friendly software applications. The new Remote Entry System (RES) program was implemented in January 1990. The improved software applications greatly reduced the backlog of data processing and evaluation. Previously, a typical data transaction required three to ten days. The data then required manual assimilation into the appropriate files and evaluation. Implementation of this new system has diminished a backlog of several months and currently reduces data transmittal and graphic reduction of data to a matter of minutes. The RES software also reduces the amount of human involvement in processing, consequently reducing the chances for human error. This system currently accommodates 600 instruments spanning 21 projects. However, it could be adapted to smaller or larger applications.

Subject Headings: Information management | Human factors | Computer software | Instrumentation | Field tests | Automation | Computer analysis | Computer aided operations

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