A Lot of Dam Data! Using ESRI’s Survey123 and Field Maps Applications to Efficiently Collect Data and Standardize Quarterly Inspection Packages for 30 Dams

Routine quarterly inspections are integral to meeting Georgia Safe Dams Program (GSDP) requirements and maintaining the long-term health of the 30 dams owned and operated by the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources’ (GCDWR). Since 2017, Hazen and GCDWR have worked together to regularly update and upgrade the inspection program to meet GCDWR’s evolving needs beginning with an overhaul of the previous county-specific data collection and management system. Hazen has performed visual inspections and prepared detailed, high-quality documentation packages on a quarterly basis using the system for the past five years.

In the field, inspection teams collect and document their findings using a combination of ESRI applications. Survey123 is used to collect the bulk of the information for the inspection form and photo log. The surveys were custom-built using the GSDP dam inspection template and expanded to contain specific details about GCDWR’s facilities to allow for faster, more efficient data collection. Once back in the office, photo logs and inspections forms are easily created using the Survey123 report generator. The Field Maps application is used to geolocate all photos and other information collected.

Following field inspections and desktop review, documentation is delivered to GCDWR quarterly in a standard inspection package. Each dam-specific deliverable includes a photo log, inspection form, relevant standard operation and maintenance procedures from the dam’s Operation and Maintenance Manual, instrumentation data collected and displayed in a Microsoft PowerBI dashboard, and an aerial map displaying the inspection photo locations. Additionally, 360-degree photos are taken annually at each dam and are accessible as a digital dam tour through a Google Earth file, making ‘virtual’ dam visits available to GCDWR. The inspection packages are compiled into an annual ‘roll-up’ and submitted directly to the GSDP.

Every quarter on average, inspectors spend upwards of 75-100 hours conducting field inspections, collecting and documenting between 1000-1500 photos in inspection photo logs, and organizing 1500-2000 pages of data for inspection packages. Using this data collection and reporting system, the amount of time needed to compile detailed and standardized inspection packages that exceed GSDP reporting standards for up to 30 dams each quarter is significantly reduced.