Quick model set-up using open databases (DelftDashboard)


Although all surface water modelling efforts tend to be unique, many steps (i.e. data collection, grid set-up, generating forcing, boundary and initial conditions) are the same in every modelling exercise. The main purpose of Delft Dashboard is to make it easier for modellers to go through these steps and enable quick model set-up anywhere in the world. It does so by linking to open databases for bathymetry (e.g. GEBCO, Vaklodingen, SRTM), shorelines and tidal data (e.g. TOPEX Poseidon). Users are enabled to add their own (classified) datasets to the tool. Delft Dashboard offers a large number of generic routines and handy toolboxes, such as coordinate conversion, bathymetric interpolation, nesting, domain decomposition and modelling of tsunamis and tropical cyclones. With these tools, setting up a model is a matter of minutes, whereas it used to take days or weeks before.

The quick nature of Delft Dashboard enables users to rapidly assess the characteristics of their system of interest. For example, the user can get an idea of tidal signals, tidal motion and bathymetry in a certain part of the world in a few clicks. This can be valuable information, particularly in the initial or tender stages of a project. Delft Dashboard may also come in handy to provide first-order estimates of the potential effects of extreme events such as tsunamis (time to hit the coast after an earthquake) or hurricanes and other severe storms (surge levels). Given the short notice of these events, time is generally lacking to set-up dedicated and thoroughly validated prediction models. Furthermore, a rapid assessment tool like this may assist users in quickly testing model sensitivities.

Although the Delft Dashboard interface is designed to support the setup of every type of surface water model, only the following models have been implemented so far:

Building with Nature interest

Delft Dashboard can potentially be used for any type of hydrodynamic or morphodynamic environment, as long as the proper plug-ins are developed. In its current state Delft Dashboard primarily supports hydrodynamic and morphodynamic modelling in coastal environments. It could be a useful tool for all environments defined within the Building with Nature framework. The versatility of the tool makes it particularly useful for the initial project phases, i.e. initiation and planning & design. Generally, more dedicated and detailed modelling is required for the construction and operation & maintenance phases. As the current version of Delft Dashboard does not yet cater for the set-up of curvilinear and unstructured grids (which are generally required for more detailed models), other tools such as RGFGRID and QUICKIN may be required in addition to Delft Dashboard.

Delft Dashboard is linked to the Interactive Dredge Planning Tool – Singapore, where it is used for a showcase. The principal idea of this showcase is to go in a number of steps from a rough model based on rough data to a dedicated, well-calibrated model based on the best datasets available. This process is mimicking the steps in a real project. In the initial stages the actual questions are often not clear, relatively little data is available and some rough explorative model runs are used to get an idea of the natural behaviour and characteristics of the area of interest, whereas in the end of the project the project team ideally delivers a well-calibrated (and validated) model that is capable of providing accurate information. The quick and intuitive nature of Delft Dashboard makes it a useful tool to go through these steps. Likewise, Delft Dashboard can be useful for Interactive group modelling – MapTable type applications, as it can quickly set up or modify models in different stages of the design process.