Success Stories

October 2, 2009

One of the primary advantages of the SVOffice geotechnical software suite is that it allows consulting firms to develop new areas of business and revenue streams. This aspect of the software has been demonstrated by Golder Associates Africa. The Midrand office approached SoilVision Systems Ltd. about one and a half years ago with the desire to increase their numerical modeling capabilities. In particular, they wanted to model unsaturated flow which applies to many situations in the mining industry. They were interested in developing the following types of models:

  • Cover design;
  • Tailings water balance; and
  • Flow through waste rock.

SoilVision Systems Ltd. worked with Golder to provide the initial training on the software as it applies to mining problems. The scientists at Golder were able to understand and make use of the software almost immediately. Over the past 1 - 1/2 years, Golder Africa has made use of the software weekly to develop what has become a successful new area of application in their business. The revenue generated from the unsaturated numerical modeling has far exceeded the initial costs of training and software.

Golder scientist Albert van Zyl has this to say about the software:

The software has provided a stable and productive environment by which we have been able to quickly apply unsaturated numerical models and further develop this area of our business.

The use of the software was further exemplified by its use on a project for a proposed tailings facility.

Simulated position of the phreatic surface in a proposed tailings dam design

Short description of modeling project

A tailings storage facility (TSF) was designed and predictions were required of the seepage volumes that could be expected.

The seepage analysis modeling assumed that a flow-limiting layer with a low permeability is present under the proposed TSF. Such a layer will restrict flow to the subsurface and will cause the drains to capture a significant flow volume. Seepage volumes were predicted for the end of the operational phase. The effect of the proposed drains on the shape of the phreatic surface and the resulting seepage volume were evaluated.

Toe drains will restrict the phreatic surface to the area enclosed by the drains. Due to the size of the TSF, the drain beneath the pool was found not to change the shape of the phreatic surface; although it achieves a significant reduction in seepage into the subsurface.

The predicted seepage volumes (SoilVision output) were used in the impact assessment of the proposed TSF.

Other Projects

In other projects, Golder Associates Africa has used SoilVision for the source-term component of Source-Pathway-Receptor (S-P-R) modeling. S-P-R modeling is used to assess groundwater impacts in a probabilistic manner. The source-term component includes flow and geochemical modeling to provide seepage fluxes and leachate qualities for calculating the contaminant load from a source.

If you are interested in developing unsaturated soil numerical modeling capabilities for your business, please contact us directly.


  • "I would like to thank you for all the support and the interest that I got from your team regarding this matter. I was able to successfully finish my project with the help of your technical support and managed to graduate achieving a high grade on the project I did. The software is extremely helpful and wasn't complicated and I look forward to future for more work and experience with your software. Thank you for your help and support."
  • "I have been using SoilVision's SVOFFICE™ software for research and training purposes for a number of years now. Myself and my colleagues have developed a number of training modules in this software, and have been using these to teach limit equilibrium and flow modeling to undergraduate students in the civil, environmental and mining engineering streams.

    In my opinion, this software is easy to learn and fun to use. The built-in tutorials are sufficient to get one started. With these tutorials, my students were generally able to complete their analyses with minimal involvement on my side.

    Based on my own experience, it takes around a month of full-time use to become reasonably competent with the software (provided that one understands the theoretical underpinnings of this type of analysis) - a short learning curve, compared to other products of similar complexity. The interface is intuitive enough for me to figure out things on my own, and I rarely had the need to ask for help.

    I don't generally like praising anything excessively, and I don't post particularly glowing reviews for anything. Having said that, I must mention the SoilVision support. At some point during my research, I was conducting a number of replication studies for my thesis. In that period, I must have emailed SoilVision's support anywhere from 2 to 5 times a day, with fairly complex (and sometimes very dumb) questions. I always got a response by the end of the day, and a resolution within a couple days at most. In a number of urgent cases (such as during a tutorial session with a classroom of students) I called them directly on the phone and, with senior product engineers involved, had the issue addressed in minutes."
  • "We have allowed our students the choice of using multiple Geotechnical software suites in our Dam Design and other Geotechnical courses. Our students consistently gravitate towards SoilVision software as being the most modern and user-friendly."

  • "I've been a geotechnical engineer for more than 25 years and SoilVision has the best tech support I have ever worked with. I truly appreciate their patience and help over the past year."

  • "Peter Brett Associates have been looking to update our existing slope stability software over the last year. After extensive research and trials, SVSLOPE® developed by SoilVision Systems Ltd. was found to meet all our existing and future design requirements. Its ease of use for modeling simple as well as complex geological and geometrical problems was a critical factor in our assessment as well as the incorporation of design to the Eurocodes. Their customer support has been faultless and their willingness to develop the software to meet our own specific design requirements is a most gratifying added bonus."

    "We love the fact that SVSLOPE® is part of an integrated suite of software and that, if required, 3D analysis can be undertaken. We would recommend this product to other geotechnical consulting firms."

  • "We have been using SVSLOPE® and SVFLUX™ for the past year and have found them to be efficient and productive engineering tools which have allowed us to offer our services in an efficient manner. The capability of automated increased discretization of the mesh is an absolute benefit to our modeling, reducing time and effort. We have found the software quick and easy for our engineers to train and utilize. I would recommend this product to other geotechnical consulting firms."

  • "The software is well documented and comes with number of useful example models. We were able to quickly begin creating models after a short review of the user interface and going through the available on-line webinars. The software offers solid benefits of less conservatism and the ability to model real geometry."

  • "This new software for stability analysis includes a number of state-of-the-art options for probabilistic slope stability analysis. This feature, combined with comprehensive deterministic analyses, will provide new opportunities to build confidence in the results of a site-specific analysis.”

  • "I'm excited to see the release of this new and innovative product. I look forward to and encourage the application of this software on additional geotechnical projects.”

  • "In consulting engineering practice, I am increasingly made aware of the important and beneficial role that modeling the unsaturated soil zone can play in providing the client with the best possible engineered solution. The SoilVision software has made it possible to readily estimate and incorporate unsaturated soil properties into the modeling of saturated / unsaturated soil systems.”

  • "The use of SVSLOPE® software as part of a research project on clay slopes under seismic conditions with the Université de Sherbrooke has been incredibly easy and effective. The continuation of this research with SoilVision is promising, with technical support, which was present at the right time, as well as a passionate geotechnical team supporting the project.”

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