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HydroInform – Water Information Technologies

HydroInform specialises in water information technologies and is undertaking consultancy work, providing training courses, participating in research projects and developing its own software products within this domain.

HydroInform is represented on the OpenMI Association Executive Committee.

The company

HydroInform is a private limited company founded in 2006 by Jan Gregersen. HydroInform is an SME (small or medium-sized enterprise).

In January 2010 the company changed name to it’s current name  - HydroInform. Before that the company was called LicTek.

Water & modelling:

Water is one of the most essential resources on planet Earth. A sufficient supply of clean fresh water forms the basis of all living things and, in particular, human beings. However, water can also be devastating. Every year flooding is responsible for the loss of human lives and properties. Consequently, proper management of water is vital. Nowadays computer-based numerical models are among the most important tools used for managing water. Numerical models are essentially program code that solves the mathematical equations that describe the flow of water, solutes, sediments etc. Such models are typically equipped with a graphical user interface, which helps the user to define the large amount of data required for the calculations, run the model and subsequently view the results. Models are typically designed for specific domains, such as groundwater, river flow, reservoirs etc. However, water management often requires that multiple domains are taken into account, which calls for integrated systems consisting of interconnected models (integrated modelling). When such systems are extended with tools for optimisation, scenario management tools and/or economic assessment, they turn into decision support systems (DSS).

The general idea behind modelling is that once a model or system of models has been established for a specific area (river basin, aquifer or whatever) the model can simulate the behaviour of the corresponding real-world system.  Generally models are used in three different ways:

1) What-if scenarios, where consequences of building a bridge, change in land-use or increased precipitation, for example, are analysed.

2) Forecasts, where continuously running systems are predicting future situations based on historical data and the current situation (for example, flood forecast systems).

3) Real-time operation systems, used for the automated or semi-automated regulation of gauges or pumps, for example.

The design, implementation and application of environmental models and decision support systems are challenging because the whole process involves key competences from a range of fields. The starting point is to understand the problem the systems will assist their users in solving, the physical processes and the availability of data. For example, in situations with limited data available a simple conceptual model may produce equally good or perhaps even better results compared to a sophisticated physically-based, dynamic, fully-distributed model. In other situations the demand for accuracy may require a complex system. No matter how complex the models are they never reflect the corresponding real-world system fully.  Hence, it becomes important to focus on the problem that the models are intended to solve to make sure that accuracy is high enough.

The next step is to describe the physical processes in terms of mathematical equations, which subsequently, by the use of numerical analysis, are turned into algorithms that can then be converted into computational code.  Models and especially systems of models and decision support systems may require massive amounts of computational code. Hence, the reliability, performance and subsequent maintenance costs depend on the right choice of technology (Java, C#, Fortran, Web, DB etc.) and the right choice of IT architecture (object-oriented, service-based or whatever).

HydroInform consulting

For both model code developers and model users the key issue is to do the right thing – make sure that you are clear about what you want to achieve from your modelling or development – and then to do the thing right – make sure that you use the most suitable models, technologies, design etc.

Based on more than 15 years of experience from the leading edge of model development and model application HydroInform assists clients in achieving this. HydroInform provides consulting services and advice in a range of fields including project management, problem definition, numerical analysis, IT design and architecture, implementation and application of models, model systems and decision support systems.

HydroInform training courses

HydroInform provides on-site training courses for employees who need to upgrade competences within a specific field. Such training can be tailored to fulfil the needs of specific projects and may take the form of a combination of initial training and continued advice for the duration of the project in order to assist when needed.

See also OpenMI developers training

HydroInform research

HydroInform is interested in future collaboration with researchers/companies/organisations and joint proposals for research funding. Apart from the key competences within OpenMI technologies, HydroInform has expertise in research/solutions where in-depth understanding of the hydraulic and hydrological processes, numerical analysis and latest IT technologies are required. HydroInform has experience from a number of successful EU research projects (see Experience record).

HydroInform is an SME (small or medium-sized enterprise). SME participation is highly encouraged throughout FP7.