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Project Information Management Systems for Dredging Projects
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Background/Objectives.

Remediation projects with dredging components generate lots of diverse data including but not limited to: the 3-Dimensional extents of dredge progress; environmental monitoring data (surface water quality, turbidity, air quality, noise, and odor monitoring); dewatering and disposal or re-use of dredged materials; and capping or backfilling activities. 

These data are often collected by separate subcontractors each with their own reporting and data access methods or platforms.  These platforms range in complexity and usefulness from handwritten and scanned paper logs to interactive dashboards showing data updated in real-time.  Data contained within these platforms are often siloed, meaning it is difficult to use, visualize, or analyze data in one platform within the context of data within another platform.

The result of these activities is a high volume of communications and meetings between different project stakeholders simply to disseminate project data.  Data are often provided with a significant lag after the data generating step, and as such there can be an increased risk to the project schedule, budget, and overall success.  These risks can be minimized and managed if project stakeholders have complete and timely access to relevant data in an and actionable format in order to make informed and timely decisions using the best available and current data.

Approach/Activities.

A Project Information Management System (PIMS) is an effective tool for collecting, processing, and disseminating data.  A PIMS contains a project database; automated workflows for receiving, verifying, and loading data into the database; web-based data access tools including interactive GIS web viewers to visualize and query the data in 3-dimensions; and tools and workflows for disseminating data to appropriate stakeholders in a customized format and schedule (i.e., a daily report that gets automatically emailed out every morning showing project status).

For example, dredge progress can be automatically calculated and visualized using digital data that are already generated on projects. Dredge telemetry systems generate digital data that can be exported from the rig, processed, and compared against design elevations to calculate the amount of material removed and the percent complete of the dredging activities.  This is a completely automated process, whereby telemetry files are loading into the database using a script, calculations are performed immediately on the received data, and the data are immediately available in the reporting modules to all users.  These data can be shown and combined with other datasets listed above, to provide an ongoing complete set of project data.

Results/Lessons Learned.

The difficult or time-consuming step of implementing a PIMS is building workflows to load the data into the database.  Cost savings can be found by automating the processing and reporting of generated data including automating as-built drawings or CAD exports.  As such, a successfully designed and implemented PIMS should save money and reduce risk to the project through an upfront investment at the start of the project will more than pay for itself through a net reduction in effort overall.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Andrew Higgins, Jeff Daniel, Sheldon Liu, Bhrugesh Patel, and Jamey Rosen
  • All Authors: Andrew Higgins (Geosyntec Consultants, Waterloo, ON, Canada),
    Jeff Daniel, Sheldon Liu, Bhrugesh Patel, and Jamey Rosen
  • Title: 2023 Battelle Sediments Conference
  • Event or Publication: Event
  • Practice Areas: Sediment assessment and remediation, Contaminated site assessment and clean up
  • Citation: Battelle's International Conference on the Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments at the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas, on January 9 through 12, 2023
  • Date: January 9 through 12, 2023
  • Location: JW Marriott in Austin, Texas
  • Publication Type: Platform Presentation