3D Intelligent Model of Glen Canyon Dam

Written by: Amee Andreason

Scanning Glen Canyon Dam
Scanning Glen Canyon Dam
The Bureau of Reclamation constructed numerous dams and powerplants since 1902 utilizing traditional engineering methods and equipment to produce two-dimensional (2D) engineering drawings for design and construction activities. These drawings were drafted by hand until the 1980s when computer aided design (CAD) was introduced in Reclamation. Engineering drawings are still the main output of design and operation and maintenance (O&M) activities today. A major disadvantage of engineering drawings is their focus on discrete components or systems with little reference to adjacent or complementary systems. Recent advances in data capture, three dimensional (3D) CAD models and building information modeling (BIM) have created options for unified intelligent models far beyond current practices.

Using commercial off the shelf software and equipment currently operated by Reclamation, this Science and Technology Program project (project ID: 9748) funded by the Research and Development Office seeks to create a unified intelligent model of Glen Canyon Dam and Powerplant to foster enhanced facility management.

This intelligent model would serve as a basis for design, O&M, asset management, monitoring, security, and outreach/education. Overall facility operation and management would be enhanced through managers and personnel having better understanding of the facility and interrelated and interconnected systems.

Reclamation has utilized Autodesk software, mainly the AutoCAD product family, for over 25 years. These products are used on a daily basis in many offices throughout Reclamation. Reclamation has a long history of collaboration with Autodesk. Autodesk approached Reclamation with a project proposal to create a unified intelligent model of a Reclamation dam and powerplant. Autodesk will also provide funding for a significant portion of the project. The tasks to create this model will be performed by Autodesk and Reclamation personnel. This project will combine and extend several technologies to prove that laser scanning, CAD and BIM can create a unified intelligent model that can be utilized for design and construction, O&M, facility management, safety and security, etc.

The proposed project tasks consist of three phases, (1) capture the interior and exterior of the powerplant and dam exterior using stationary laser scanning equipment. (2) Employ aerial photography and underwater sonar to capture the upstream and downstream faces of the dam as well as conditions ¼ mile upstream of the dam site. (3) Create an intelligent 3D model of the facility with overlays for O&M, facility management, security, power distribution and geographic information system.

On Monday, August 29, Reclamation staff from every region joined Autodesk to start these phases of work. The 3D image of the pump demonstrated is just a small example of what this project will look like and can accomplish.


Click here for 3D image

Autodesk and History Channel scanning at Glen Canyon Dam

Scanning inside valves at Glen Canyon Dam

Published on September 14, 2016