In order to assist modellers in setting up and using model-partner software in ways that support the decision-support imperatives of data assimilation and uncertainty quantification, GMDSI is developing a series of tutorials.

GMDSI tutorials are designed to be modular and independent of each other. Each tutorial addresses its own specific modelling topic. Hence there is no need to work through them in a pre-ordained sequence. However, they also complement each other. Many employ variations of the same synthetic model, and are based on the same simulator (MODFLOW 6).

In these tutorials, utility software from the PEST suite is used extensively to assist in model parameterization, objective function definition, and general PEST/PEST++ setup. Some tutorials focus on the use of PEST and PEST++, while others focus on ancillary issues such as introducing transient recharge to a groundwater model, and translation of a model’s grid, parameterization, and calculated states to files that can be read by visualization, GIS and display packages.

All tutorials are hosted in a GitHub repository here. Individual tutorials can also be accessed through through the links below.

Self-Guided Study

PEST Course: Brisbane

Description Where: EcoSciences Precinct, Dutton Park, Brisbane Who should attend: Both new and experienced modellers will benefit from the course, as well as anyone who would simply


Calibration – A Simple Model

This is the first in a series of tutorials which demonstrate workflows for parameter estimation and uncertainty analysis with the PEST/PEST++ suites. These are not the only

Uncertainty Analysis

Linear Uncertainty Analysis

Linear uncertainty analysis is also known as “first order second moment” (or “FOSM”) analysis. It provides approximate mathematical characterisation of prior predictive probability distributions, and

Data Worth Analysis

The present tutorial addresses the ability (or otherwise) of yet-ungathered data to reduce the uncertainties of decision-critical predictions using linear analysis utilities from the PEST

Non-Linear Uncertainty Analysis

In contrast to linear uncertainty analysis, non-linear methods do not suffer from the limitation of assuming a linear relationship between model predictions and model parameters.

Data Space Inversion

This tutorial introduces data space inversion (DSI). DSI can be used to explore the uncertainties of predictions made by complex models with complicated hydraulic property

Data Assimilation for a Simple Model

This tutorial explores construction of the interface between PEST/PEST++and a simple MODFLOW/MODPATH model, and how to then subject that model to history-matching and uncertainty analysis–including

Conceptual Model to Numerical Model

This tutorial explores the use of “conceptual points” as a precursor to model parameterisation. Expected hydraulic properties are provided at these conceptual points. Just as



PLPROC: Basics

PLPROC is a member of the PEST suite. Its primary use is for pilot points parameterization of models that use both structured and unstructured grids.

PLPROC: a simple pilot point example

PLPROC allows a modeller to create and manipulate parameters that inform hydraulic properties that are represented in a numerical model. In doing this, PLPROC supports

Covariance Matrices: The PPCOV Suite

A variance-covariance matrix, often referred to as a covariance matrix, is a square matrix that provides covariances between pairs of elements of a random vector.

Structural Overlay Parameters and PLPROC

Using the PLPROC parameter preprocessor supplied with the PEST suite, moveable polylinear and polygonal structural features such as faults and aquitard windows can be inserted


Other Tools & Utilities

Model Visualisation and Display

This tutorial shows you how to extract data from MODFLOW 6 input and/or output files, and record that data in files that are easily read