As we continue to expand the capabilities of InfoWorks ICM, we want to always find ways to help our customers work more efficiently. From model development and simulation runs to data intake, we’ve found numerous ways to help customers streamline their projects. Here are five ways we’ve been able to streamline workflows for customers since we began building this expansive app.
1. Validation and data flagging
The workgroup database in InfoWorks ICM gives users a complete history of their model. Along with an unlimited number of undo and redo actions, hydraulic modelers can quickly build their model, even if they encounter a few errors or reach points of indecision during the process. And let’s face it – sometimes you will be unsure about how to proceed.
But that doesn’t need to stop you in your tracks because validation is built-in and can be programmed in using SQL. So, as data changes, users can make sure that the information associated with model elements makes sense and will produce a sound, working model.
Data flagging rounds out the workgroup database functionality by allowing users to flag model information either by how it was brought into the model (GIS, inferenced, etc.) or by the modeler who updated the design. This provides an unprecedented level of transparency and allows others to pick up modeling tasks in a truly collaborative way.
2. Data inferencing
If you build hydraulic models using raw survey data – which is not that uncommon – you’ll almost always be missing certain elements that are necessary for the model to run accurately. InfoWorks ICM has built-in inferencing tools to fill in these gaps. It works for things like missing shapes or sizes of pipes, or ground and cover levels. Based on the geometry and orientation of the pipes, you can also configure headloss types and coefficients. These tools really make it easy to quickly fill in data gaps.
3. SQL and other scripts
InfoWorks ICM lets you use SQL to pull out information from the model or streamline building your model. The best use of this kind of scripting is to avoid repetitive tasks. The truth is, it’s not always easy to avoid repetitive tasks when building your model or updating it to a proposed or future condition. But using SQL queries, these laborious and tedious tasks can be automated to speed up the process and ensure that data entry errors are minimal. SQL queries can be used for everything from adding new scenarios to assigning sub-catchments to their nearby nodes to creating your own inferencing tools.
Similarly, we know that reporting and pulling out results can sometimes be a tedious task. But here again you can use SQL queries to select nodes, pipes, and other model features with certain model results to highlight capacity problems or CSOs/SSOs occurring during a simulation, for example. Once these queries are built in the database, they can be used across any model or results within the database, making them an incredibly flexible and powerful set of tools.
4. Model data management
In addition to data flagging and validation, the workgroup database also provides the foundation for better model data management. We think this workgroup database is unique to anything else on the market for hydrologic analysis for a few key reasons.
First, it allows multiple users in your modeling database at the same time, making it actually collaborative. This makes a huge difference. Simply put, when you increase collaboration, you’re able to work more efficiently because you’re now able to leverage the knowledge and expertise of multiple people to provide the best outcome.
Second, it offers you the ability to seamlessly step back to previous versions of your model. In this way, you can also incorporate a variety of different data sources to branch off your models into multiple scenarios. When you do this, you can reference other models, GIS data, and time-series data (radar rainfall, pump status, flow meters, etc.). By incorporating everything you would need and connecting these sources directly, you’ll be less susceptible to errors made during data transfer and data manipulation needed to transfer that information from one source into your modeling software.
All of this combined allows for more collaboration across entire organizations and better model data management. When you improve your model data management, you also spend less time transferring data, less time figuring out where data came from, and less time fixing errors that creep in when you have to extract it and re-format it.
5. Remote runs and GPU utilization
Hydraulic simulations, depending on their complexity, can take hours or even days to complete. In addition to InfoWorks ICM’s inherently fast and accurate simulation engine, simulations can be run on other servers or computers available in the network that are purpos-built for running complex hydraulic models. Instead of relying on and consuming the hardware resources on a typical desktop computer, a high-powered server can be used by an entire organization to provide much faster simulations.
Additionally, GPUs can be used to speed up the 2D portion of the simulation – so long as your graphics card supports CUDA technology. Based on some of the testing we’ve performed, using GPUs can speed up the simulations 12x or more with very large models with many 2D elements showing the most significant improvements in reducing run times.
Those are 5 ways we’ve helped make InfoWorks ICM more efficient. But we’re also convinced that InfoWorks ICM can help you make better business decisions.