Delft Software Days 2012

19-20 November 2012.

Event website.

By Vanesa Magar, Agent and lecturer in Coastal Engineering, University of Plymouth.


The Delft3D introductory course was attended by about 20 people from around the world. This course introduced the pre-processing and post-processing software used by Delft3D modellers, and then continued with some basic model set-ups, using a simple geometry (a curved channel) as basic example. The course then moved on to a couple of more complex models, including the assessment of the accuracy of seabed data provided by the client, and a model of a thermal plume along the Vietnamese coast. The abilities of the participants ranged from beginners, to more advanced users who wanted to understand better the capabilities of the software. I made some good contacts interested, for instance, in applications of Delft3D to tsunami modelling, sediment plumes, and environmental impacts of renewable energy devices.

Conference report

The course I attended in Deltared (Delft, The Netherlands, 19-20 November 2012) is the most basic course on Delft3D, provided by the Deltares Academy. Deltares is a not-for-profit research and consultancy organisation. A couple of years ago they made their regional (scales of 10s of meters to 10s of kilometers) hydrodynamics and morphodynamics models, known as Delft3D-flow and Delft3D-mor, open source. This has increased tremendously the number of Delft3D users around the world, in particular users in Universities that have started to use this piece of software in earnest for coastal and marine research. It was very interesting to see the experts providing training in Delft3D. We provide training in Plymouth to the MSc students, and I certainly learned a couple of things, not only about the software, but also about training skills.

During the workshop a met Daniel Rodger, a Senior Coastal Engineer who works at JBA Consulting Ltd (Jeremy Benn), and who has been in contact with us as he is interested in recruiting our students for internships as well as for more permanent positions. Daniel's team has been using Delft3D for a number of applications, they have the whole suite of software as they have applied for a license. Unfortunately not all of it is open source at present, but there are plans for making other parts of the suite available, like the water quality modules, for instance. Internships in this company sound like a very good opportunity for our students, due to this access to different software that they can apply to coastal engineering problems, and could potentially lead to useful collaborations between Plymouth University and JBA.

During the workshop I also met Julius Sumihar, one of the Deltares OpenDA specialist. OpenDA, or Open Data Assimilation, has been used together with Delft3D only for model calibration, and we had some ideas to use it for other problems which made Julius quite enthusiastic. Another researcher I met was Susana Baston, she is based in the Orkney Islands, and she is using Delft3D for modelling of environmental impacts of marine renewable energy devices. There were a number of very interesting people with whom I would have liked to have longer conversations about work, for instance with the researcher from the Italian Met Office, the Belgian morphodynamics modellers, or the researchers from the Fuji Islands. Unfortunately I could only attend the first two days of this 10-day Deltares Academy training and Delft3D users meeting, so there was simply not enough time to network and talk to everyone. Hopefully next time I manage to meet all those attending these very stimulating sessions. It was great to see that Deltares software is quickly being adopted worldwide and its recently acquired open source status is definitely being beneficial to Deltares, and to the research community at large.