What XPSWMM users who made the switch to InfoWorks ICM no longer need to worry about

Sophia Buchanan Sophia Buchanan March 10, 2023

6 min read

First released for Windows in 1997, XPSWMM aided stormwater and flood professionals to take on the water challenges of the time. Now, 20 years on, the water industry demands modeling solutions that efficiently handle large data sets, that help them crack complex flow conditions across multiple catchments, and that can manage different climate change scenarios and mitigation options to continue delivering water projects with confidence.

We’ve put together some of the reasons why we think those who have already made the move to InfoWorks ICM are happy that they did. 

Want to go from XPSWMM > InfoWorks ICM?

Now is a great time to upgrade. Starting May 7, 2023, you can convert your XPSWMM licenses with InfoCare agreements at a discounted price and start working in InfoWorks ICM. Read more about the InfoCare to Subscription (I2S) program.

How the lack of Undo (unfortunately) sometimes made you do more

There is no Undo function in XPSWMM. If you were to make a simple mistake such as accidentally deleting a catchment, you would have needed to redraw it. 

Move fast and Undo – as much as you want.

InfoWorks ICM doesn’t just have multi-step Undo/Redo tools, it also has full network version control so you can easily roll back to an older version or run simulations based on the network at the time.

InfoWorks ICM also has a commit history that provides an inbuild model log, so no need to manage a separate spreadsheet to track model changes and decisions. Never rebuild a model in InfoWorks ICM – just update them. 

Network commit history and model log function in InfoWorks ICM

A scenario manager that was one dimensional

XPSWMM’s scenario manager was developed to support 1D capabilities only. It was not updated when 2D flood capabilities were added in 2006.  

InfoWorks ICM has a powerful parent-child scenario manager that supports all network objects. The base network can be modified with the changes filtering down to the child scenarios. So, if you update the network from survey data, you don’t need to update all of your scenario options separately.

Use the InfoWorks ICM Scenario Manager to spot differences, dupe existing scenarios, and keep everything organized.

This means you can run many, many different scenarios, just like Paolo Tamagnone did in his work surveying and modeling ancient sewers in Florence to predict flood inundation into cultural storehouses.

Project limitations when you wanted to go deeper

XPSWMM was developed to cater for simplistic sanitary sewer and small urban flood modeling projects. It had a node limit of 32,000. However, this limit reduces with model complexity, making it unsuitable for larger and more complex projects. 

InfoWorks ICM is a fully scalable, whole-of-catchment analysis tool. It currently has a node limit of 250,000 which doesn’t reduce with model complexity and can actually be increased to cater for larger networks if needed. So you can deliver a range of projects from simple capacity analysis or basin design to integrated urban and riverine floodplain analysis.   

Modeling application XPSWMMInfoWorks ICM 
Sanitary sewer capacity analysis 
Sanitary sewer master planning 
Urban drainage design 
Cross-drainage structure analysis  
Riverine flood analysis 
Advanced Water quality 
Small-scale flood analysis 
Large-scale floodplain management 
Advanced model calibration  
Disaster management 
Network operations 
XPSWMM vs InfoWorks ICM

Miscommunication when working with others

XPSWMM can only have a single user working in a single project at any one time. 

Collaboration is essential in today’s data-driven and collaborative environments, and InfoWorks ICM is designed to be a multi-user solution for working in a team environment. With full permissions, conflict resolution, and data flagging teams can build, review, and deliver projects fast – and to a higher standard.  

Who did what? User-defined flags in InfoWorks ICM get everyone on the same page.

Workflows without automation  

XPSWMM didn’t have automation tools, so users needed to work with the tools that were available.  

InfoWorks ICM provides users a simple-to-use SQL query builder (Stored Queries) to create their own toolsets to automate workflows common across their projects or datasets. As an example, If, you wanted to do a pre-development vs post-development model in InfoWorks ICM, you could create a short cut to update all selected catchment parameters to new values in one step. 

These automated workflows can even be added as a tool in the toolbar so you can have them ready to use across other projects and databases or other uses in a team environment.  

Create your own custom workfows in InfoWorks ICM and assign them to your toolbar.

InfoWorks ICM also supports Ruby scripting, which power users can take advantage of to automate and program additional functions into the software such as import/export of bulk data or report creation. InfoWorks ICM also has global SQL, which allows you to easily alter your network data or make alternative scenarios. 

Do you SQL? Here’s how to get started in our apps and create powerful automations.

Avoidable human error 

XPSWMM only checked for errors that would prevent the simulation from running. Simple mistakes such as typos on input parameters, wrongly drawn links, and poor connectivity were not flagged. 

InfoWorks ICM validates model inputs on-the-fly, notifying you of errors in red, warnings in yellow, and suggestions in blue. Simple typos that set parameters outside normal bounds can be picked up and corrected. 

On-the-fly validation in InfoWorks ICM showing an error because the pit floor level is above the pit roof level.

Prior to model data being committed to the database, a full network validation is performed to ensure common modelling errors such as disconnected pipes and missing data is captured before you finalize the model – meaning when you go to simulate the model, the model runs. Additional checks can be added to the process to ensure networks meet desired standards such as minimum pipe grades.  

Engineering validation rules in InfoWorks ICM. 

Result views without graphic appeal

All software produces results, but sometimes the presentation output can make or break your work. XPSWMM had only the basic result views available – tables, graphs, and long sections. 

InfoWorks ICM provides all the basic result views which are dynamically linked so that you can interrogate model results quickly. For example, you can view a long section with a plan view and graph the properties of the link which are all linked at the same timestep and location. ICM also includes more advanced viewing options to better communicate model outputs with stakeholders such as the 3D view. 

What a difference 3D makes when it’s time to show your work to stakeholders.

Is InfoWorks ICM simply better than XPSWMM?

Not for everyone. There’s something to be said for sticking with a tool that does one thing you need to do simply and effectively for as long as it works for you. But the more we talk to customers who have made the switch from XPSWMM to InfoWorks ICM, the more clear it becomes to us that the future of hydraulic modeling software requires ever-more-powerful capabilities than the past can possibly keep up with.

Simply put: A lot has changed in the last twenty years, and the next twenty years promises even more (exciting!) upgrades to hydraulic modeling software. As the industry moves forward to take advantage of ever-more-robust data and more powerful and faster cloud computing services, we’ll all need to keep demanding more of our tools so we can meet the needs of the future.

If you decide to make the switch, take advantage of our internal expertise to get the most out of InfoWorks ICM:


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