Tutorial Model Archive

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This TUFLOW licence free tutorial model is aimed at new users, stepping through the process of building and running a model.


TUFLOW doesn't have its own graphical user interface (GUI), it uses GIS software and text editor for its model creation and result viewing. As such, it is very efficient and flexible and doesn't have the same data load/visualisation limitations using big datasets as other modelling software GUIs.
TUFLOW has relatively modest system requirements for small models such as the tutorial model. However, larger and more complex models may have higher hardware requirements - in particular memory (RAM).


The tutorial model is designed to be be small, to allow for quick simulation and load times. The tutorial model should run on any modern PC or laptop that is capable of running Windows XP or later.



TUFLOW can be obtained from the downloads section of the TUFLOW website. It is recommended that you use the latest release version of TUFLOW.This tutorial model does not require a TUFLOW licence in order to be simulated, and no additional drivers should be required.

GIS Software

This tutorial will need one of the following GIS packages. TUFLOW results can be viewed directly in GIS software or exported into GIS format and this is detailed in the tutorial model. GIS Software have traditionally not handled time varying results well. Therefore, it is recommended (but optional) that a results viewer be used.

  1. QGIS
  2. This tutorial was developed with QGIS 2.8 (Wein), this was previously know as Quantum GIS. Earlier or later versions of the software should be generally be compatible with the tutorial tasks. The new version of TUFLOW-QGIS plugin requires QGIS version 3.12 or higher.
    TUFLOW plugin for QGIS has been developed which allows the TUFLOW binary format (.dat and .xmdf) results to be viewed in QGIS without the need to convert these into shapefile or raster format. Installation instruction are available on the QGIS TUFLOW Plugin Installation notes page. Both QGIS and the plugin are available free of charge.

  3. MapInfo with Vertical Mapper
  4. This tutorial was developed with MapInfo 10.5 and Vertical Mapper 3.7. Earlier or later versions of the software should generally be compatible with the tutorial tasks.

  5. MapInfo with Encom Discover
  6. This tutorial was developed with MapInfo 10.5 and Encom Discover Version 12.0. Earlier or later versions of the software should generally be compatible with the tutorial tasks.

  7. ArcGIS with Spatial Analyst
  8. Early modules of this tutorial were developed with ArcGIS 9.2, later models (module 3 onward) were developed in ArcGIS 10.0. Earlier or later versions of the software should generally be compatible with the tutorial tasks.

  9. Surface-water Modelling Software (SMS)
  10. This tutorial was developed with SMS 11.0. Many of the tutorial tasks (such as editing/creating input files) can be completed through the SMS front-end interface. Tasks to be completed differently when using SMS are noted in the appropriate SMS sections. Earlier versions supporting the TUFLOW module and later versions of SMS should be generally compatible with tutorial tasks.
    SMS is available from www.aquaveo.com/sms. Once installed a 30 day trial licence can be requested. See also this page of SMS Tips.

  11. WaterRIDE FLOOD Manager
  12. WaterRIDE FLOOD Manager is available from www.waterride.net. WaterRIDE FLOOD Manager requires a licence.

Text Editor

A text editor is required for creation of the TUFLOW input files. Any text editor can be used for this purpose. However, it is recommended that a more advanced text editor such as one of those listed below be used. Ideally a text editor should be able to:

  • Colour code the TUFLOW control files;
  • Open other files from the active control file; and
  • Launch a TUFLOW simulation.
  1. NotePad ++
  2. NotePad++ is a free text editor. It is available from http://notepad-plus-plus.org/.
    TUFLOW runfile colour coding can be enabled using the Notepad++ Syntax File on the TUFLOW downloads] page. For instructions on configure Notepad++ for TUFLOW modelling, please see the Notepad++ tips page on the wiki.

  3. UltraEdit
  4. UltraEdit is recommended and can be downloaded for a trial period from www.ultraedit.com. See also UltraEdit Tips.

  5. TextPad
  6. TextPad is another commercial text editor and may be downloaded from www.textpad.com/. A trial version is also available.
    Please see this page for details on setting up colour coding: TextPad_Tips.

Microsoft Excel

This is required for editing and working with tabular data and .csv files. This tutorial has been created in Excel 2010, however earlier version should be compatible with the tutorial. See also the Excel Tips, which goes through the TUFLOW_tools add-ins.

Module Data

In order to build the models some data is required. This includes a digital elevation model (DEM) and aerial photography. The required background model data for the tutorial model is available for download below:

The download package also contains a working version of the tutorial model for you to refer to. The folder only contains the input files to keep the size of the download file manageable.
If you wish to run all of the final models for each module you can use the batch file under Complete_Model\Tuflow\runs\_run_all.bat. Before using the batch file you will firstly need to edit the file in a text editor and change the path to the executable (TUFLOW_iSP_w64.exe), save then double click on the .bat file in Windows Explorer to initiate the simulations.

Recommended Reading

Whilst the online tutorial is designed to cover as much material as possible, it is recommended that the TUFLOW manual be downloaded from the TUFLOW website. This will be referred to throughout the tutorial model.
It is also recommended that a sound naming convention for TUFLOW models and associated files be adopted. This is described in the following page: TUFLOW Naming Convention.
The following page (TUFLOW file types) describes the different file types and groups of files provided with this tutorial.
The use of a modelling log is also beneficial and highly recommended. TUFLOW modelling logs are discussed in this page: TUFLOW Modelling Log.


The tutorial model is presented in a number of modules. The modules have been developed to be undertaken as steps, with each module offering the opportunity to run the model and review the results. Some of the modules build upon earlier iterations; for example module 2 builds upon the model created in module 1. For this purpose, models developed during the previous modules are available.
New users are advised to undertake the modules in sequence, whilst more experienced users can skip to modules containing specific features of interest.

Module 1: 2D only model

The first tutorial module introduces the user the TUFLOW software, file types and model inputs. In this module a fully two-dimensional model (no 1D) is built. This module can be found here.

Module 2: Embedding 1D culverts

The second module introduces three 1D culverts through the road embankments. These culverts are dynamically linked to the 2D model. This module can be found here.

Module 3: Basic 2D topography modification (breaklines)

In the third module survey data is imported from text file data. These inputs are added to TUFLOW model as breaklines to ensure that the top of the road and the creek centre line are represented in the 5m TUFLOW model. This module can be found here.

Module 4: 1D Open Channel and 2D floodplain

1D open channel is added to resolve the in-bank areas, the 1D model is dynamically linked to the 2D which is used to model the floodplain areas. This module can be found here.

Module 5: Flood Impact Assessment

A simple flood impact assessment is undertaken, a proposed development is added to the model and the peak water level for the existing and developed case scenarios are compared. This module can be found here.

Module 6 Modelling Bridges

This module introduces the user to both 1D and 2D bridges. This module can be found here.

Module 7: Urban Drainage Modelling

The use of TUFLOW's powerful 1d/2d underground pipe network linking is explored. This module can be found here.

Module 8: Direct Rainfall

This module introduces direct rainfall modelling and includes use of new techniques such as the use of depth varying roughness. It includes guidance on the review and presentation of results when using rainfall on grid approaches. This module can be found here.

Module 9: Multiple Domain 2D-2D Model

This tutorial module uses two different 2D domains of varying cell resolution dynamically linked to one another. A 5m cell resolution is used in the upper portion of the study area. A 2.5m cell resolution is adopted in the downstream area. This module can be found here.

Module 10: Managing Multiple Scenarios, Events and Variable

This tutorial module demonstrates how to use TUFLOW Scenarios, Events and Variables. These features provide a model design framework to manage large numbers of simulations from a single TUFLOW Control File. Structuring a model in this format has significant benefits:

  • It is the most efficient way to execute a project, reducing the number of man hours required to create models.
  • It has substantial quality control advantages. The modelling framework significantly reduces the number of TUFLOW input files required during a project. In doing so, it typically means less chance of accidental user error when input files are created. Particularly if the file is a slight alteration from another (for example, to reflect changes in inputs associated with a modelling a different event magnitude, duration or temporal pattern).

This module can be found here.

Module 11: Dam Break Modelling

This tutorial module uses variable Z shape to model a dam break. This module can be found here.

Module 14: Pump Modelling in 2D

This module focuses on adding a pump to the tutorial model to simulate pumping of water from one location in the model to another. This module can be found here.


For comments, requests and feedback contact support@tuflow.com.