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SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) is an industrial measurement and control system consisting of a central host or master (usually called a master station, master terminal unit or MTU); one or more field data gathering and control units or remotes (usually called remote stations, remote terminal units, or RTU's); and a collection of standard and/or custom software used to monitor and control remotely located field data elements. Contemporary SCADA systems exhibit predominantly open-loop control characteristics and utilize predominantly long distance communications, although some elements of closed-loop control and/or short distance communications may also be present.

Systems similar to SCADA systems are routinely seen in factories, treatment plants etc. These are often referred to as Distributed Control Systems (DCS). They have similar functions to SCADA systems, but the field data gathering or control units are usually located within a more confined area. Communications may be via a local area network (LAN), and will normally be reliable and high speed. A DCS system usually employs significant amounts of closed loop control.

SCADA systems on the other hand generally cover larger geographic areas, and rely on a variety of communications systems that are normally less reliable than a LAN. Closed loop control in this situation is less desirable.

This page is intended to help guide you from the basic theory of SCADA systems, to the design of simple SCADA systems, through the selection of vendor hardware and system architecture. Please explore the links and topics below to gain a more complete understanding of this interesting subject!


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SCADA Information

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SCADA Reference Books

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Practical Modern SCADA Protocols: DNP3, 60870.5 and Related Systems, by by Gordon Clarke and Deon Reynders. Paperback: 400 pages (September 2004).

A Guide to Utility Automation: Amr, Scada, and It Systems for Electric Power, by Michael Wiebe. Hardcover: 316 pages (January 2000).

Creating HMI/SCADA Industrial Applications Using Microsoft Access, by Jeff Weigant. Spiral-bound - 103 pages (May 1, 1999).

Scada : Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, by Stuart A. Boyer. Paperback 219 pages, 3rd edition (June 3, 2004).

Practical SCADA for Industry , by David Bailey and Edwin Wright. Paperback, 288 pages (July 2003).

Automating Science and Engineering Laboratories With Visual Basic (Wiley-Interscience Series on Laboratory Automation), by Mark F. Russo, Martin M. Echols. Paperback (May 1999).

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SCADA Hardware and Software Vendors

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