How to update a model without breaking it?

  • we are calibrating and preparing a master plan while a survey crew is updating the pipe inverts. So we need to update the model every 3 to 4 weeks with the new data
  • As the modeler for the latest master plan, the utility sends us as-built drawings every 6 months to update the model.
  • First, I would like to share the comforting news, we are not alone. No matter what you do, sooner or later you’ll suffer from something like this. If you do a little research on software development, maintaining a piece of software is just as challenging, and that’s why programmers are very interested in management frameworks such as Agile development and DevOps to make their life easier.
  • Second, as we are moving closer and closer to the vision of digital twins, modeling will see the same shift the software industry did, we’ll switch from a release cycle of every 5 years to a continuous release cycle. The focus will shift from how to create a new model to how to continuously update the model without breaking things.

Manage Changes

As I am updating the model, managing the changes is the last thing on my mind. All I want is having a working model after the updates, the model still runs fine, and all the calibration still holds up reasonably well. What I don’t want is spending hours and days figuring out why it is not doing it supposed to do.

  • make small changes and save your model often
  • automate the checking process so that you can run it often and catch the error early
  • rollback the changes that caused the problem if needed
  • review the changes incrementally to identify the issues
  • Update a model from external source, the responsible way
  • Managing changes using versioning and scenarios
  • Automate the testing
  • Cherry pick the changes in your revision history

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