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TUFLOW Classic and GPU

TUFLOW is a powerful computational engine that provides one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) solutions of the free-surface flow equations to simulate flood and tidal wave propagation. TUFLOW also leads the way in 2D/1D flood modelling with unparalleled 1D/2D linking, flexibility, robustness and a range of features no other product provides.


  • River flooding
  • Urban flooding
  • Pipe network modelling
  • Storm tide and tsunami inundation
  • Estuarine and coastal tidal hydraulics

TUFLOW is ideally suited to modelling:

  • flooding of rivers and creeks with complex flow patterns
  • overland and piped flows through urban areas
  • estuarine and coastal tide hydraulics
  • inundation from storm tides and tsunamis

TUFLOW offers unparalleled 1D/2D and 1D/1D dynamic linking capabilities with other products. It has been merged with:

  • XP Solution's XPSWMMM 1D engine and GUI for the xp2D product (known as XPSTORM in Europe), and
  • Ch2MHill’s Flood Modeller 1D engine (formerly known as ISIS) using the TUFLOW Link

The TUFLOW engine interfaces with GIS software such as MapInfo, ArcGIS or SAGA and/or via the Aquaveo SMS GUI. 12D Solutions are developing a customised TUFLOW interface and WaterRIDE displays, animates and post-processes TUFLOW output.

Since 2004, over 500 organisations across sixteen countries purchased the TUFLOW engine either directly or as XP-2D. Many larger organisations utilise extended TUFLOW network licences across offices worldwide. TUFLOW is the dominant 2D flood modelling software in the UK, and is the most widely used 1D/2D flood modelling software in Australia. In 2010, TUFLOW and XP-2D were given FEMA approval in the USA.

TUFLOW's robustness, performance and wide ranging functionality arguably make it the world's most powerful 1D/2D hydrodynamic computational engine.

TUFLOW is originally the product of a joint research and development project between WBM Pty Ltd and The University of Queensland completed in 1990. The project's objective was to develop a 2D modelling system with dynamic links to a 1D system. Up until 1997 it was used extensively by WBM Pty Ltd for estuarine and coastal studies, with the occasional flood study. Since 1997, considerable improvements in flood modelling capabilities and GIS linkages have been developed, resulting in extensive and wide-ranging application to flood investigations worldwide.

TUFLOW's 2D solution is based on the Stelling finite difference, alternating direction implicit (ADI) scheme that solves the full 2D free surface shallow water flow equations. The scheme has been improved to handle upstream controlled flow regimes (eg. supercritical and weir flow), bridge decks, box culverts, robust wetting and drying, and other features. The 1D solution is based on the widely applied WBM in-house software ESTRY which solves the St Venant equations using a two-stage explicit solution.

TUFLOW was made commercially available in 2001. Its popularity spread by word-of-mouth largely by recommendations by users. Larger organisations, even those that are long-term users of other similar products, have quickly increased their number of TUFLOW licences once they realise the efficiencies and performance gains of using TUFLOW.

TUFLOW has a wide range of features, developed and incorporated based on the feedback from modellers and clients. Key features include:

Layered data approach:

  • No need to duplicate input data layers
  • Easy manipulation of layers
  • No limit on the number of layers

GIS layers independent of cell size, location and orientation:

  • Very easy to change 2D cell size, or reshape your model, without having to change your input data
  • Start modelling on a coarse 2D grid, then switch to a finer grid once the model is established

Easy modification of 2D topography, roughness and other inputs:

  • Thin (cell sides only), whole cell and wide breaklines for easily representing fences, levees, embankments, diversion channels
  • Not one, but five (5) ground elevations per cell are used computationally. Elevations are specified at the cell centre, and each mid-side allowing the whole cell or just the cell sides to wet and dry – great for modelling thin features such as fences or levees
  • Easy removal or interpolation across missing or bad DEM data – simply digitise a polygon to interpolate across null areas in your DEM
  • 3D shape layers that make it very easy to re-shape your topography for all those what-if scenarios

Multiple 2D domains Module:

  • Vary the cell size, orientation, extent and timestep in the one model
  • Represent different areas of your model using different 2D resolutions
  • Interconnect different 2D domains to one or more 1D domains or to each other

1D Network Domains:

  • Powerful and proven 1D network modelling solution that’s been in use and continually enhanced for over 40 years
  • Open channels, bridges, weirs, culverts, gullly traps, manholes, pipes, and so on
  • Update or override 1D elements using separate layers – no need to duplicate unchanged data when modelling different scenarios
  • Tools to automatically generate 1D cross-sections from DEMs and TINs and interrogate roughness values across the cross-sections from your land-use mapping
  • Import extensive GIS pipe network and manhole layers
  • Pipe networks handle surcharging and 12 different pipe flow regimes
  • 1D timestep is different to the 2D timestep and does not force a reduction in the 2D timestep
  • 1D links to a 2D domain do not need to be reworked if the 2D cell size changes
  • Custom pit inlet or gully trap curves.
  • Manhole energy losses can be recalculated every timestep based on the manhole shape, expansion and contraction of flow, flow distribution between pipes, angles of approach, and pipe invert drops

Hydraulic Structures in 1D and 2D:

  • Stable 1D structures that don’t rely on artificial energy losses for stability
  • Modification of 2D cells to model bridge piers, decks, fine-scale energy losses, side wall friction of box culverts
  • Vary parameters in the vertical to model bridges and horizontal blockages such as pipelines in 2D

Automatic flow switching in 1D and 2D:

  • Automatically switches between upstream controlled (supercritical and weir) flows and downstream controlled (subcritical) flows in both 1D and 2D solutions

1D/2D Linking:

  • Robust, stable and powerful 1D/2D linking without any need to change your 2D timestep
  • Easily carve a 1D open channel through a 2D domain simply by digitising 1D-2D interface lines
  • 1D/2D channel/floodplain linking applies full equations (only uses weir equation if upstream controlled). Spill levels based on 2D topography (not 1D cross-sections) thereby breakouts between cross-sections are correctly modelled
  • 2D scheme dynamically linked with Flood Modeller and XPSWMM
  • 1D scheme dynamically linked with Flood Modeller


  • One of the fastest 1D/2D solutions available
  • For real-world models, probably the fastest, most reliable solution


  • 32 and 64-bit versions available
  • Single and double precision
  • Regular annual releases
  • Interim updates with minor enhancements and any bug fixes


  • Very cost effective and excellent value for money
  • Inexpensive networking options with no limitations across countries/offices

Powerful multiple events and scenario management:

  • Can run all your simulations for a study using a single master file
  • Batch bulk simulations and assign different levels of priority and CPUs

Extensive quality control (check) outputs:

  • Optionally output a multitude of GIS layers to proof and review your model.
  • Running commentary of all input data displayed and logged so you can see what the software is doing.
  • Detailed mass balance reporting on screen and to _MB.csv files.
  • Display and reporting of healthy model indicators so you know whether there are issues that might need attention.
  • Messages are displayed geographically so you can see where the problem is.

Numerous “little” features that make life easy such as:

  • Packaging up a copy of your model for extra backup or delivery to others

Advanced flood risk management analyses:

  • Evacuation route monitoring and outputs
  • Flood gauge output time and level information appended to GIS property databases
  • Automatic modification of topography based on flood hazard or other output for examining future planning options for identifying floodways and floodplain development controls

Customise TUFLOW by creating your own TUFLOW_USER_DEFINED.dll. For example:

  • Write your own hazard categories classifications
  • Implement your own infiltration routine
  • Output results in a different format

TUFLOW Support:

  • Active, focussed, TUFLOW Forum where over 600 registered members contribute their problems, solutions and ideas
  • where you get advice from the developers who don’t just write software, but have years of hands-on modelling experience
  • Messages and useful tips Wiki for learning how to solve an error, warning or check message a modeller may encounter

TUFLOW Training:

  • Customised or bespoke training for project based models
  • Larger group generic training
  • Training by those who develop and extensively use TUFLOW on projects

TUFLOW Tutorial Model:

  • Excellent for self teaching or in-house training of new staff
  • TUFLOW licence not required to run the models so your trainees don’t use up your TUFLOW licences
  • Model can be modified so that you can test and play with ideas
  • 2011 version will have an additional six modules covering recent TUFLOW features and advanced modelling techniques

Useful Free (unlicensed) Utilities including:

  • Generating TUFLOW inputs (eg. xsGenerator that generates 1D cross-sections from XYZ surveys and land-use polygons to vary roughness across the section)
  • Post-processing TUFLOW output such as TUFLOW_to_GIS to produce 3D flood and other surfaces, velocity arrows, longitudinal profiles, calibration plots, etc
  • Utilities for Excel for managing tabular (eg. boundary) databases

TUFLOW WIBU dongles offer:

  • Excellent reliability and networking options inter-office worldwide
  • Ability to licence different numbers of different products and modules on the one dongle
  • Can access more than one dongle to access different products/modules
  • Remote and easy updating
  • Network dongles run as a service with web-based administration

The modeller’s model. TUFLOW is for modeller’s that want to:

  • Be close to and have control over the “black box”
  • Be in command of and have flexibility over how their model’s are setup, managed and simulated
  • Be able to model numerous events and scenarios quickly and easily
  • Bulk process simulations and post-processing tasks

Seamless linkages with GIS and third party interfaces and schemes:


  • Wide range of map and time-series outputs
  • Map output in several published formats including the hd5 XMDF format.
  • 1D output displayed in 2D style using a parallel channel analysis
  • 1D and 2D output merged as one map output
  • GIS layers combining 1D and 2D peak and time-series outputs
  • .csv files of 1D and 2D output for use in a spreadsheet
  • Extensive mass balance outputs and check files
  • Free utilities such as TUFLOW_to_GIS to migrate to GIS and 3D surface models