It was a number of years ago that we laid out the design for a slope stability software project. The SVSlope 2D project represents the most ambitious project our company had ever undertaken. The resources and time periods needed for this type of project were daunting. Why do this project?
We have observed significant changes in the research literature on the numerical modeling methodologies being proposed for slope stability analysis in geotechnical engineering and felt that there was need for a software tool that reflected the present and future trend of geotechnical engineering practice.
The SVSlope 2D software provides easier access to statistical methods and allows the linear and nonlinear analysis of unsaturated soil conditions in a slope. The software has implemented cutting edge slope stability analysis methods that are receiving attention in the research literature. This new software tool is implemented on the latest software platforms, has a simple user interface and is supported with extensive help systems and training tools. The concept was to create and release a software package that was more technically advanced and still easier to use than any existing software tools.
In order to develop such a software tool, the technical staff at SoilVision began by assembling a team of technical professionals and experts to guide the development of the new package. The core development team assembled to undertake the software development had received graduate degrees by studying under slope stability experts such as:
It was important that each member of the development team had experience in both geotechnical engineering as well as major software development experience. The core development team included Tiequn Feng, PhD/PEng, HaiHua Lu, MSc, Murray Fredlund, PhD/PEng, Rob Thode, BSc/PEng, Del Fredlund, PhD/PEng/OC, Gilson Gitirana, PhD/PE, Dirk van Zyl, PhD/PE, and Ward Wilson, PhD/PEng. The combined group provided significant experience from the field of slope stability analysis.
Once the team was assembled, work began by laying out the design concepts and framework. Then the scheduling of the project was laid out. As in any large project, the only certainty was that there be ongoing change. Given the size of the project and the number of different software technologies available there was a significant amount of trial and error in order to obtain the desired final product.
Proper documentation of the software was a priority. The documentation was divided separately into a user’s manual, a tutorial manual, a verification manual, and a theory manual. Software for document versioning and maintenance and delivery of the core documents was reviewed and a system for delivering suitable help assistance on a variety of formats was established.
Verification of the software package was considered of paramount importance and a great deal of time was extended comparing SVSlope 2D results to published benchmarks and other slope stability software packages. A great deal of lively discussion ensued internally and with our external review board of experts regarding the proper quantification of a “right” answer! During re-visitation and programming of classic limit equilibrium method of slices it was both informative to track the application of these methodologies to various classes of models.
In all, more than 100 benchmark example models have been set up, solved, and documented in our verification manual. These benchmark example models are all solved to required tolerance limits prior to the release of any particular version of the software.
Once the software was prototyped, it was also considered important to put the software into hands of consultants with significant slope stability modeling experience where the product could be subjected to critical testing and examination. The “Beta” version version has performed well. The release date of the project has been pushed back a number of times in order to make all necessary adjustments and corrections have been implemented to ensure seamless performance of the software.
We are pleased to introduce you to SVSlope 2D, a new standard in slope stability analysis. It is the culmination of years of work, thousands of man-hours and the most extensive review and verification program ever executed by our company. The software has already been applied to world-class slope stability projects.
SVSlope 2D is intended to provide geotechnical consultants with a comprehensive slope stability package that pays special attention to recent advances in the analysis of natural and man-made slope. We feel that this product implements a balance of leading edge technologies as well as classic slope stability methods and will provide added value to geotechnical engineering consultants. We welcome you to use the results of our hard work!