By allowing staff to concentrate on interpreting, and not entering data from multiple projects simultaneously, DamSmart has reduced costs at around 200 dams in the US, Canada and New Zealand

FLEXIBLE and easy to use for US agency reporting, DamSmart software from URS has helped many

operators implement an automated dam safety

monitoring programme.

DamSmart is a Windows-based software tool designed to help engineers manage the geotechnical and structural instrumentation data associated with long term performance monitoring of dams and other civil infrastructure. The software comprises a relational database integrated with a graphics user-interface to produce common analytical plots and reports. The primary modules in DamSmart include:

• Project selection.

• Instrument type definition.

• Collection groups.

• Manual data entry/electronic file importing/data editing.

• Reports and plots.

Staff can manage multiple projects within DamSmart. The project selection module is for creating new projects, updating existing projects or removing projects from the database. Individual users can have access to the project or projects that they work on or can have access to all projects in a given organisation.

Users can define their own instrument types on the screen, by selecting field conditions (eg. barometric pressure, temperature), calibration constants, raw or calculated data values, calculated data values, (including user-defined reduction equations), threshold levels, and reference information. There is also a field for users’ own comments.

The user can define individual instruments included in a project using the instrument definition module, such as:

• Position information (station, offset and elevation).

• Calibration constants (time dependent).

• Specific reference information.

• Minimum and maximum limits.

• Threshold values.

New instruments can be added at any time, and users have the ability to define the order in which instruments are entered and reported.

Collection groups

A collection group is a set of instruments that are generally read at the same time. They may be of a given type, for example to allow all open standpipe piezometer data to be read at the same time, or they can include multiple types of instruments.

Instruments that are being read by an automated data acquisition system (ADAS) are combined in a collection group for electronic importing into DamSmart.

Data entry/editing

Instrument readings may be entered manually, imported from ADAS or hand-held dataloggers, or downloaded from electronic files.

Once the user has assigned instruments to collection groups, data can be entered manually. A tabbed folder interface organises instruments into common instrument types to make this easy. The manual data entry screen is automatically configured to the user’s collection group definition. As raw data is entered, the system checks each value against the minimum and maximum values that were assigned for each instrument. Calculated data is checked against both minimum/maximum values and thresholds if they were defined. Values beyond allowable ranges or thresholds will be noted in the comment section for each instrument so that the user can run an exceptions report.

DamSmart includes several electronic file import modules to load data from ADAS sites or other electronic files. The user must decide which import format is needed for a project and configure the import procedure using the appropriate control setup module. Once the user has provided the necessary file import information, he or she can begin electronic file importing. Data can be edited and recalculated or masked if it is not to be used for reports or plots. A global recalculation feature allows the user to recalculate all readings for a given instrument.


Reports are based on instrument types. The user can select the columns of data to be reported, whether statistics are calculated and if he or she wants to report masked data. There is an option to report either rate of change or percentage change on a given calculated data field. Reports can be formatted for printing or exported to a variety of file formats.


DamSmart includes a set of three primary plot types that are commonly used for the long term performance monitoring of dams. These basic plot types include:

• Time series plots (single and dual-y axes).

• Position plots (phreatic surface plots, settlement vs. elevation, etc).

• Correlation plots.

Drop down lists of data values and units are provided to assist with plot definitions. All plot definitions can be saved for future routine plotting.

Templates for future plotting may be drawn up in Microsoft Excel or Grapher, both of which interface with the standard version of DamSmart. Custom plots include dual y-time series, position plots (phreatic surface) and surface plots.

All plots are user definable and can be grouped together for batch plotting. DamSmart also includes a custom interface to Visio Technical for creating complex merged plots that can contain one or more data plots with imported CAD files or other graphic images.

No instrumentation data management system meets everyone’s potential needs. So, with DamSmart, URS constructed an open-system architecture based on industry standards to allow custom extensions to DamSmart for specific applications. Examples of how this approach is being used on other DamSmart projects include:

• Visual Basic interface to UTEXAS3 Slope Stability Program.

• Integration with Microsoft Exchange for electronic mail notifications.

• Interface to Psion Workabout hand held dataloggers.

• Interface to MapInfo for landslide monitoring purposes using GPS Data.

• Graphical interface using ArcView.