Ford Engineers has always used information technology to meet the needs of our clients in an efficient manner. Since the firm was established, Ford Engineers has leveraged the capabilities of information technology in our project work. The methods we use have shifted from punched cards and Fortran programs to graphical user interfaces and cloud computing, but our goal has not. We leverage technology to accelerate and amplify our ability to solve water resource problems in a cost-effective, consistent manner for our clients.
Our early successes in developing and using new, creative software applications for studies include:
- ResQ, one of the earliest reservoir simulation applications with a user-friendly interface for the PC. This application is described in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) journal article Reservoir Storage Reallocation Analysis with PC, ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 116(3), pp. 402-416. In the “unique for the time” application, we designed the output specifically for the PC and included the capability to write files that could be read by spreadsheet and graphical‐display programs. This then-state‐of‐the‐art interface expedited the edit‐simulate‐evaluate cycle, permitting the civil engineer to search for solutions to water‐use problems, rather than for solutions to computer‐use problems.
- TRACE, an integrated decision support system (DSS) for reservoir flood operation that we developed and deployed on the Trinity River, TX. This DSS integrated databases and visualization and analysis applications with an early character-based user interface. TRACE enabled an operator to display weather and water observations, to forecast inflows, to simulate reservoir operations, and to predict impacts of release decisions. The DSS is described in the journal article PC-Based Decision-Support System for Trinity River, Texas, ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 121(5), pp. 375–381.
- D2M2, an application we created using network optimization to support decision making for dredged material disposal management. The original concept for this generalized, data-driven application is described in the journal article Dredged-material Disposal Management Model, ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 110(1), pp. 57–74. As technology advanced beyond the original application’s use of punched cards, we enhanced D2M2 for the San Francisco District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, adding first a character-based user interface for the personal computer (PC) (shown above). Later, as PC use moved to Microsoft Windows, we added a graphical, geographic oriented user interface.