Infrastructure / Dam Monitoring—Structural

How We Can Help You

Working on a system

Measurement automation platforms are unique to each dam because of the many types of measurements they are required to collect. Our platforms can measure all the parameters required for a successful dam monitoring program, including, but not limited to, water level and flow, strain, and vibration. In addition to real-time data measurement, each measurement device will alert you of changes in factors such as water level, load, pressure, and tilt if they move beyond acceptable ranges. Historical and real-time data can be transmitted directly to the cloud or to your PC. Measurement automation platforms are rugged, low power, and adaptable to the harshest, most remote environments.

Allow our team of experienced application engineers to make this easy as they help you build a dam monitoring system specific to the measurements you need.

Learn about our patented VSPECT® spectral-analysis technology at our VSPECT® Essentials web resource.

Learn about dynamic vibrating-wire sensor measurements at our Dynamic Vibrating-Wire web resource.

The dynamic vibrating-wire measurement technique is protected under U.S. Patent No. 8,671,758, and the vibrating-wire spectral-analysis technology (VSPECT®) is protected under U.S. Patent No. 7,779,690.

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Check out some awesome examples of what our equipment can do in this area


Customize a System

In addition to our standard systems available, many of the systems we provide are customized. Tell us what you need, and we’ll help you configure a system that meets your exact needs.

More Details about Our Dam Monitoring—Structural Systems

Numbered dam monitoring locations

  1. Inflow and precipitation
  2. Reservoir level
  3. Slope stability
  4. Seepage
  5. Outflow

Geotechnical Measurement Automation Platforms

The versatility of our platforms allows them to be customized for each application. We offer a range of platforms, from the most basic device with just a few channels to expandable platforms that measure hundreds of channels. Scan rates can be programmed from once every few hours to 10,000 times per second, depending on the model. Measurement types, processing algorithms, and recording intervals are also programmable.

The measurement automation platform has a simple, yet powerful on-board instruction set: simply choose the sensor type, scan rate, and measurement channel. On-board mathematical and statistical processing allows data reduction in the field and enables measurements to be viewed in the desired units, whether that is microstrains, centimeters per second, revolutions per minute, meters, Amperes, or inches.

The versatility of the measurement automation platform extends to control as well. Each platform can monitor and control external devices based on time or measured conditions, allowing savings in time and equipment, and warning of—or possible prevention of—dangerous conditions. These platforms are rugged enough to be used in geotechnical studies and dams worldwide.

The measurement automation platform can stand alone. Once programmed and powered, no human or computer interaction is required, although data are typically downloaded to a PC or exported to the cloud for further analysis. A telecommunication or hardwire link allows data to be monitored and graphed in your office rather than in the field. Data from various stations and applications can be monitored from a single laptop or desktop computer.

The low power drain typically allows our platforms to be powered by solar panels and batteries. If 110/220-Vac power, vehicle power, or external 12-Vdc batteries are available, you can use those as well. Nonvolatile data storage and a battery-backed clock ensure data capture and integrity.

Sensors Used for Geotechnical Measurements

The versatility of our measurement automation platforms begins with sensor compatibility. Our platforms can measure virtually every commercially available sensor, allowing them to be used in different ways for a variety of measurements. For example, the following are common parameters that the sensors in our platforms measure:

  • Barometric pressure
  • Pore water pressure
  • Water level
  • Water flow
  • Temperature
  • Weight
  • Force
  • Pressure
  • Strain
  • Tilt
  • Deflection
  • Inclination
  • Settlement
  • Displacement
  • Elevation
  • Humidity

More specifically, these are the sensor types commonly used in our measurement automation platforms:

  • Foil-bonded strain gauges
  • Vibrating-wire strain gauges
  • Strainmeters
  • Extensometers
  • Jointmeters
  • Crackmeters
  • Deformation meters
  • Piezometers
  • Pressure transducers
  • Barometers
  • Settlement sensors
  • Borehole pressure cells
  • Earth pressure cells
  • Load cells
  • Pressure cells
  • Inclinometers
  • Tiltmeters
  • Tilt beams
  • Stressmeters
  • Thermistors
  • Thermocouples
  • Deformation sensors
  • Accelerometers
  • Sonic water-level sensors
  • Displacement transducers
  • Linear variable differential transformers (LVDT)

Because our measurement automation platforms have many channel types and programmable inputs, all these sensor types can be measured by one device. Channel types include analog (single-ended and differential), pulse counter, switched excitation, continuous analog output, digital I/O, and anti-aliasing filter. Using switched or continuous excitation channels, our platforms provide excitation for ratiometric bridge measurements.

The following are common sensor measurement types that our measurement automation platforms are compatible with:

  • Frequency
  • Resistance
  • Voltage
  • Ratiometric
  • Current
  • Modbus RTU
  • RS-485
  • SDI-12


The availability of multiple communications options for retrieving, storing, and displaying data also allows platforms to be customized to meet your exact needs. Onsite communications options include direct connection to a PC or laptop, PC cards, storage modules, and platform keyboard/display. Telecommunications options include short-haul, telephone (including voice-synthesized and cellular), radio frequency, multidrop, and satellite.

Case Studies

Serbia: Enhancing Power Plant Safety Measures
Overview The reconstruction of the navigational lock system at the Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power more
Southwest: Solving the Mystery of Erroneous Dam Monitoring Data
Background Think of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Minor errors in surveys and maps could have more
South America: Mine Tailings in Tailings Dams
Background Tailings dams are crucial components of mining operations, responsible for storing water used in more
California: Public Utilities Commission
Natural disasters occur everywhere, and California is no exception. When wildfires were rampant across more
Wyoming: Vibrating-Wire Technology for Dam Monitoring
Located beneath a steep canyon near Douglas, Wyoming sits LaPrele Dam, privately owned by more
Puerto Rico: Dam Monitoring
Canary Systems, Inc., was asked by the instrumentation contractor for the new Portugués Dam more
New Zealand: Lahar Observations
All of our years of effort have paid off. Wehave collected a world-class data more
Kentucky: Dam Repair
The Wolf Creek Dam near Jamestown, Kentucky, was constructed partially as a regular concrete more

FAQs for

Number of FAQs related to Dam Monitoring—Structural: 1

  1. Most Campbell Scientific systems are built from individual components. This provides maximum flexibility for our customers, but it does not lend itself to pricing a "typical" system. Contact Campbell Scientific for assistance in pricing a system to meet the unique needs of the application.

Related Integrators

The following is a list of companies that have developed expertise in our products and provide consulting, installation, and other services for dam monitoring—structural applications.

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