Confused about WHILE, IF

Clients often get confused about WHILE, IF etc. It is quite common for those unfamiliar with SQL often try to use IF/ELSE/WHILE when there is no need and normal SQL commands are more appropriate.

The important thing is to understand is that they can only be used to control the overall flow of the SQL query, they cannot be used to make decisions for individual objects.

So for example, when you write

SET user_number_1 = 5

That query is automatically applied to all objects of the specified type. Continue reading

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    Exporting results to binary files

    InfoWorks ICM allows you to export results in various formats. Amongst all the options available you can export results to binary files. Have you considered using this format? Continue reading this blog post to find more details about this.

    What is a binary file?

    A binary file stores data in binary format which can be read by computers but is not readable by users. It is usually more efficient than other formats, because their size is generally much smaller and their input and output is much faster.

    Why do we want a more efficient file format?

    We want a more efficient file format to be more efficient! This is particularly important if gigabytes of results are being generate and analysed. For example, the Stochastic Flood Maps presented in this blog post required the analysis of runs with 200 simulations, each of them with more than 10 000 2D elements, which ends in the generation and analysing of 1.2 GB of results for each run. Under these circumstances, the size of results files exported and the time required for their analysis can be significantly reduced with the use of binary files.

    This does not mean the binary format should always be used. The use of binary files require the development of third party applications to read them, which might not be convenient for common modelling tasks that do not involve much data. In this case, the use of other formats, such as csv files, can be much handier to use and easier to read and analyse. In addition, InfoWorks ICM has several tools that can be used for most modelling tasks, including displaying and analysing results. Continue reading

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      Introduction to InfoWater SA

      InfoWater SA not only provides almost all capabilities of InfoWater as a hydraulic modeling tool for drinking water systems, but also offers an outstanding interface for better user-experience.

      InfoWater SA is a Stand Alone software package, which was not built upon on ESRI’s ArcMap as InfoWater. Its map functionalities are based on ESRI’s ArcEngine, but there is no additional cost for users.

      InfoWater SA utilizes the Microsoft Office style ribbon, which separates functionalities into groups such as Edit, View, Data, Tools, and Application etc. The ribbon has differentiated icons and labels according to their importance and frequency of use. Users can hide the ribbon to open up space the network map.

      InfoWater SA also supports the Quick Access toolbar, which is fully customizable and can be placed on top or below the ribbon. A user can add any icons and commands to the Quick Access toolbar according to his/her preferences.

      InfoWater SA User Interface

      InfoWater SA User Interface

      For more information, please visit or contact our friendly Innovyze staff in your region.

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        Moving InfoWorks RS Network Data to InfoWorks ICM

        InfoWorks ICM has the ability to model both urban drainage systems and fluvial systems in an integrated manner. In the past, urban drainage systems would have been modelled in InfoWorks CS and the migration of data from InfoWorks CS to ICM is well documented ( with virtually all data migrated between the 2 software. This is because InfoWorks ICM has its roots in InfoWorks CS.

        This is not the case on the fluvial side, where models exist in our river modelling software, InfoWorks RS.  The setup of InfoWorks ICM and InfoWorks RS are a little more distinctive.  Most fluvial modelling software use cross-sections and links but they differ in the ways they represent structures and junctions, InfoWorks RS and ICM are no exception to this. Nonetheless it is still possible to migrate network data between InfoWorks RS and ICM with some ease, avoiding the time-consuming re-creation of the entire fluvial model network.  Although it should be noted there are some incompatible network objects that exists in InfoWorks RS, these are primarily Routing reaches, Bernoulli Loss Units, Flapped Orifices, Blockage Units and Symmetrical conduits.  There are also no junction nodes (although these can be represented in InfoWorks ICM as break nodes) or connectivity links.  This means that some of the connectivity requires fixing within InfoWorks ICM.  There are also differences in the approach to modelling bridges which is identified later in this article.

        The first thing to note, is that with an InfoWorks ICM license, it is possible to open the InfoWorks RS viewer software which allows the user to open, view and export InfoWorks RS model networks.  With the InfoWorks RS network open, Right click on the Network with IWRS and click on Export->to CSV… Export the RS Network to CSV with the following options checked:

        Figure 1: Export options for InfoWorks RS CSV Export to ICM

        Continue reading

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          What elements can subcatchments “drain to” in InfoWorks ICM?

          Have you wonder where subcatchments can “drain to” in InfoWorks ICM? Probably you are thinking nodes, but the correct answer is more complex giving the flexibility InfoWorks ICM offers you. Let’s have a look:

          • Nodes: subcatchments can drain to any node type, except outfalls. For example, subcatchments can discharge runoff to a manhole in sewer systems or to break nodes in river reaches. If manholes have flood type “Inlet” or “Gully”, subcatchments with a system type of ‘storm’, ‘combined’ or ‘overland’ drain to the above ground elements and are subject to the inlet parameters before they can enter the below ground element, whereas subcatchments with ‘foul’, ‘sanitary’ or ‘other’ system types drain directly to the below ground element.
          • Links: subcatchments can drain to any link. For conduits, river reaches, channels and bridges the runoff from subcatchments is applied as lateral inflow. For control links, the runoff is applied to the upstream node. If this node is an outfall, the downstream node is selected to drain to, and if both nodes are outfalls the runoff is lost.
          • Multiple Links: similar conditions to links, but in this case subcatchments drain to several links according to a weight factor. The weight factor can be user-defined or dependent on the link length.
          • Subcatchments: subcatchments can drain to another subcatchment and the runoff generated by the first one is added to the rainfall of the destination one. The runoff is then subject to the initial loss, volume, and routing models of the surfaces of the destination subcatchment.
          • 2D zone: subcatchments can also drain to 2D zones if they discharge to a dummy 2D manhole node. A 2D manhole with small volume can be defined as dummy node to make the connection between the subcatchments in the 1D model with the 2D zone in the 2D model. The dummy node needs to be connected to a link, which can be a flap valve in the opposite direction.

          Continue reading

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            Open Data Export Centre – Exporting the Attachments Array

            InfoNet has the ability to attach an unlimited number of attachments to any of its objects, which are managed through the attachments array (see image below). This post explains how to export the attachments array information using the Open Data Export Centre.

            Attachments Array

            Attachments Array

            In the Open Data Export Centre it is necessary to map the attachments fields into the output file, see images below. Continue reading

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              Basic Tutorial Now Available in InfoWorks ICM

              Good news! InfoWorks ICM (version 7.5.2 and newer) now has a built in tutorial to cover all major functions of the software. To access this helpful tool, just open the Help file, click on the ‘Contents’ tab, and you will find the Basic Tutorial under the ‘InfoWorks ICM Tutorials’ section.
              Once you locate the tutorial in the Help, you will need to download the corresponding data that will help you work through the tutorial. To retrieve that data, please visit and choose InfoWorks ICM from the list of products and login. If you do not know your username and password, please email to ask for your credentials so that the support team can provide them to you. Once you are logged in, you will find the data for download: Continue reading

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                Where subcatchments drains to?

                In InfoWorks ICM you can extend model building functionalities with SQL and Ruby scripts. This blog is an example of how to define the nodes to which subcatchments drain using these tools. The scripts presented can be easily adapted to “drain to” links or subcatchments.

                If you are modelling subcatchments that cover areas with one node only, you can use a simple SQL script. This is a common situation in urban drainage models, where subcatchments are usually delineated for each node. The SQL script simply sets the node to where the subcatchment drains to the node that it contains, as presented in the next figure.

                Figure 1. SQL script to connect subcatchments with the overlay node.

                Continue reading

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                  Surcharge Flow vs. Pipe Full Capacity in ICM

                  You may have noticed, that in some instances, the Pipe full capacity value on a pipe in InfoWorks ICM is less than the flow in a surcharged pipe. How can there be more flow in a pipe than its full capacity?

                  The Pipe full capacity (pfc) field is populated when the model network is validated. It is calculated from the Colebrook White or Manning equations. These equations are much more simplistic than the full solution St Venant equations used by the InfoWorks ICM simulation engine used to generate the model results. Therefore, there can sometimes be differences between the pipe full capacity field and the actual flow that can discharge. The value in the pfc field is only intended to be an approximation/reference for the user. It is not used by the engine to determine when a pipe goes into surcharge.

                  The Colebrook White or Manning equations assume that the pipe is infinitely long and therefore there is often more flow through a pipe than the quoted capacity, without it going into surcharge. To prove this is the case you can make the pipe a longer length or apply a constant max flow and you should see the pipe surcharging. The length of the pipe has a significant effect. You may find that a pipe of say 10 feet can carry much more flow than one of 300 feet, given the same gradient, roughness etc.

                  This pfc value has been in the software ever since we can remember, certainly since the early days of HydroWorks. It can be a useful reference, but sometimes creates confusion. We hope that this blog post provides some clarity on how the pfc field was intended to be used.

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                    Area Take Off operation in InfoWorks ICM (Sewer Edition and Full Edition)

                    Figure 1: Area Take Off Dialogue Box

                    The Area Take Off option allows automatic calculation of runoff surface areas and the contributing areas of subcatchments using data imported from a Geographic Information System. It is designed to extract the areas surfaces form a catchment according to their types (Roads, Buildings and Permeable surfaces) and to the systems where they are connected (Storm, Sanitary/Foul etc.).

                    The Area Take-off tool in InfoWorks ICM provides a number of user definable operations. Some operations are complex and can lead to accidental misuse if they are not fully understood. One such case is the “Proportional system type split” option (shown in Figure 1), which is responsible for dividing up any areas that are left over after the primary areas have been extracted from the subcatchment by the Area Take-off operation. The complexity arises when there is no area of a specific type to be taken off from a subcatchment. According to the Area Take Off technical note within the InfoWorks ICM help section (3.4 & 4), in such cases, no residual area will be contributing to the runoff generation process. Therefore, it is recommended that you don’t select the “Proportional system type split” option when you are not simultaneously extracting the different types of contributing areas (Roads, Buildings and Permeable surfaces) for the various system types (Storm, Sanitary/Foul etc.) in your model network.

                    A common engineering practice is to take off a defined layer (say, buildings) and to divide the rest of the catchment areas across the other surface types (i.e. Roads and Permeable surfaces). In such circumstances, if a subcatchment does not present any building surfaces, but does include roads and permeable surfaces, then performing area take-off on the building layer, while leaving the “Proportional system type split” option active, will generate a null total contributing area.  This in turn will lead to erroneous simulation results.  Therefore, deactivating the “Proportional system type split” option is preferable in such situations, leaving the user to manually define the system type and the surface number to obtain the right overall contributing area count and distribution.

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