Hydroinformatics: Software development for soil and aquifer system analysis

Significant advances in water research and new observational and computational capabilities and infrastructures (e.g. MOSES, TERENO, VISLAB, JUWELS) provide the opportunity to develop next generation of smart, data- and model-driven water monitoring systems. The software tools we develop are designed to support scientists worldwide in the analysis of larger and more complex systems and to enable the exploration of hydrological extreme scenarios and their effects. Modules&Interfaces&Products
The ENVINF-Hydroinformatic developer group focuses on method and software development for the process-based modelling and parameterization of coupled surface, soil and groundwater systems, as well as the transport of dissolved substances, flow with variable density, or mechanical changes in aquifer systems due to changing environmental impacts.
As a numerical tool for the simulation and prediction of groundwater conditions and interactions we use OpenGeoSys, a multi-physics code for porous media which is used in numerous THMC applications. Originally developed from Rockflow, OGS-6 now has a modular structure and provides a robust open-source framework (OGS) for the integration of additional simulation capabilities that build on and extend the numerical kernel.

Thomas Kalbacher Dr. Thomas Kalbacher Project

Dr. Thomas Kalbacher is the head of the work group Hydroinformatics and deputy head of the department of Environmental Informatics. He received his PhD at the Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, for his work on object-oriented software development for geometric modeling of complex hydrogeological systems. His PhD was awarded with a two year Alexander v. Humboldt / JSPS Research Fellowship, which he spent as researcher and lecturer at the Okayama University in Japan. He is a staff member of the department since 2009 and his research interests include computational environmental system analysis with focus on software and digital workflow development for numerical high performance simulations of water quantity and quality in heterogeneous subsurface. His work is directly related to the investigation of the impact of climate change and hydrologic extremes on soil water and groundwater dynamics and the development model-driven monitoring concepts.

Jasper Bathmann, M.Sc. Prject

Jasper Bathmann studied Physics at the University of Dresden. In his master thesis he focussed on research about fluctuations in Epithelia and developed a simulation model together with researchers from the Francis Crick Institute London (Prof. Dr. G. Salbreux) at the laboratory of Theoretical Physics of Biology. He is now working as a PhD researcher on the coupling of individual-based and continuum models.

Martin Binder, Dipl.-Ing. Project

Martin Binder studied Water Management at TU Dresden. In his Diploma thesis (2013), the influence of diffusive mass transfer on selected chemical processes in dual porosity systems was systematically assessed employing both laboratory-scale experiments and reactive model simulations. Until December 2018, he investigated the transport behavior of multi-component tracers as research fellow of Prof. Dr. R. Liedl at the Institute of Groundwater Management (TU Dresden). Since January 2019, as a new member of ENVINF and research fellow of JProf. Dr. M. Walther, he researches the interaction of sewer and groundwater systems. He has a notable expertise on both laboratory-/field-scale experimental work (focus: tracer applications including stable isotopes) and on hydrogeological modeling (focus: analytical models).

Johannes Boog Dr. Johannes Boog Project

Johannes Boog studied process engineering at TU Freiberg with stays at UPV Valencía (Spain) and the National University of Bogotá (Colombia). With his diploma thesis in 2013 he began to experimentally investigate nature-based wastewater treatment systems at the UFZ Department Centre for Environmental Biotechnology. This work was extended within a PhD on numerical modeling and simulation of aerated treatment wetlands at TU Dresden. Since 2019 Johannes Boog is working at the UFZ Department of Environmental Informatics. His current research focusses mainly on digital soil moisture mapping within the project Digital Earth. Furthermore he is interested in reactive transport modeling of treatment wetlands and workflow development for the multi-physics simulator OpenGeoSys.

Thomas Fischer Dr. Thomas Fischer Project

Dr. Thomas Fischer has been working as a scientific software developer at the Department of Environmental Informatics since 2010. He studied computer science from 1997-2003 at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. He has been working as a software developer from 2003-2005 in several projects. In 2005 he joined the group of numerical mathematics at the University of Leipzig and worked on preconditioning methods for large sparse systems of linear equations. He received his Phd for developing a purely algebraic based preconditioner. As one of the core developers of OpenGeoSys his research interest are related to robust and efficient numerical software and high performance computing.

Marco Hannemann Marco Hannemann, M.Sc. Project

Marco Hannemann studied Environmental Sciences at the University of Bielefeld and received his masters degree in Soils, Inland Waters, Contaminated Land from the University of Osnabrück in 2020. In his master thesis he developed a hydrologic model for the Müglitz river basin and investigated the influence of different input data sets and simulation approaches on flow dynamics. Since July 2020, he has been working at the Department of Environmental Informatics. His research interests cover the modelling of land-atmosphere interactions and the development of automated workflows for processing large geospatial datasets with Python. In his recent research project, he is working on coupling hydrologic models with numerical weather prediction models and the investigation of spatial distribution of soil moisture.

Erik Nixdorf Dr. Erik Nixdorf Project

Erik Nixdorf received his Bachelor degree in Environmental and Energy Process Engineering from the University of Magdeburg in 2011 and obtained his Master degree in Hydro Science and Engineering from TU Dresden in 2014. He joined the Department of Environmental Informatics in 2014 as a PhD student. After receiving his PhD on modelling multi-scale flow dynamics in groundwater-dependent environmental systems from TU Dresden in 2018, he is working as a postdoctoral research within the project Digital Earth. His current research interests focus on a better spatial-temporal prediction of hydrological parameters using public “big” databases and data science methods (e.g. machine learning algorithm). Furthermore he is interested in research questions dealing with Geographic Information Systems, modelling water flow and transport in the subsurface on the catchment scale as well as conducting combined modelling and monitoring approaches.

Marc Walther JProf. Dr. Marc Walther Project

Marc Walther is Junior-Professor for Contaminant Hydrology at the Technische Universität Dresden, Institute for Groundwater Management in joint appointment with the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department Environmental Informatics. After his Diploma study of Hydrology at the TU Dresden, with internships in Graz, Austria (Joanneum Research) and Uppsala, Sweden (Uppsala Universitet) on modelling variable-saturated flow in the subsurface, he received his PhD on density-driven flow processes within the project IWAS (International Water Research Alliance Saxony). His current research interests focus on water quality and quantity issues in coastal areas, especially in (semi-)arid regions, where groundwater often is the only available resource, endangered by exploitation and contamination. In particular, he investigates the non-trivial interaction of the non-linear processes and the uncertainty of aquifer properties (parameter bandwidths and distributions).

Yan Zhou Yan Zhou, M.Sc.

Yan Zhou worked as a researcher since May 2020, he joined the department as a master student since 2014. His current research focuses on a workflow development based on GIS and Python that cleans the river network data from the OpenStreetMap used for groundwater modeling. After his master study of Physical Geography at the HU Berlin, he going to defend his PhD on optimizing the selection of locations for drinking water extraction by means of riverbank filtration at the Institute of Groundwater Management of TU Dresden soon. He received his bachelor's degree in Ressource, Environment, and Urban Planning from the Beijing Forestry University in 2012.

OpenGeoSys Software and Tools

Most of the software packages and digital tools developed by us are freely available and Open Source, and we thank the UFZ for the support of Open Data and Open Software.

The open source platform OpenGeoSys.org, which is currently being organized at the Department of Environmental Informatics of the UFZ, plays a central role in our development. OpenGeoSys is also our most used simulation tool for the system analysis of hydrogeosystems. Many methods are implemented in this platform and we benefit from the quality control and automatic benchmarking provided by the OGS core development team. A large part of the methods and products developed by us can therefore be found as downloads for different operating systems inside the OpenGeoSys Software Packages offered for download:

OpenGeoSys Official Releases and Nightly Builds


or get directly the Open Source Code from GitLab 



More Tools and Code Snippets:

Almost all of our workgroup members have their own GitLab/GitHub environments or share their developments on other open git projects. We will provide the corresponding information or links to better connect you with their developments here soon.

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