There are a number of advanced computer software packages capable of simulating coastal processes and their use is becoming common practice. It should be understood, however, that these models do not indiscriminately provide simple answers to complex problems in an effortless and seamless manner. They are complex tools to be applied by experienced technical professionals who have the knowledge to interpret the results to aid the understanding of processes that shape the coastline and to test the influence various design alternatives may have on those processes. There are four steps to applying these analytical tools;
1. Determine if circumstances justify the time and expense associated with computer simulations;
2. If so, knowing which model or combination of modeling procedures will provide the most valuable information for a specific situation;
3. Interpretation of results to be sure they are validated through verification, by comparing model results to documented conditions over an appropriate time interval; and
4. Applying specialized skills to run the analytical procedures, and if necessary adapt them so that validation is achieved.
The experience and expertise of the professional engineer is indispensable for effective application of these highly sophisticated procedures. H&M has been a leader in this technical field, both in the development and practical application of numerical simulation models. This capability enables H&M to get the optimum value out of the most advanced technical tools available to the engineer today. There are a number of excellent modeling tools that are commercially available. Each has distinct capabilities and limitations, and comprehensive solutions often require the application of several modeling procedures.