MLU is an application for aquifer test analysis (pumping tests) and drawdown calculations of well flow in layered aquifer systems with (semi)confined and unconfined conditions. MLU is based on an proven analytical solution technique for well flow in layered aquifer systems and the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm for parameter optimization (automated curve fitting). Since the initial release of MLU in 2008 it has become one of the go-to applications for analysing slug tests, step-drawdown tests, recovery tests, variable discharge tests. In this blog post we present the highlights of the new MLU release and some of our development decisions.

A new web-based user interface
For the new version of MLU the main focus was to create an interface with improved ease of use and accessibility. Additionally the code needed to be ported to a platform that allows for future-proof maintenance of the software. The decision was made to port the code from the original language (Pascal) to Rust with a web-based frontend which proved to be both a challenging and rewarding task.

The result is an application that runs entirely from the user’s browser, therefore no installation is required. The added benefit is that there is no need for an on-premise application manager from the IT department. Your project data is stored in a project file that can be downloaded after use and re-opened when continuing your work. The file itself is stored locally on your device which means no data is stored in the cloud. Additionally, the web-based user interface may have some interesting applications for hydrologists working in the field or on-site since MLU can even be used on a tablet or phone (although the larger screen of a tablet is recommended).

The analysis of a pumping test or drawdown calculation can be done using six simple steps following a left-to right workflow in your browser. Existing user’s will appreciate the fact that this workflow is mostly similar to the workflow setup in the original MLU for Windows application. Additionally, MLU is now available in both Dutch and English.

New features
As mentioned, most of our effort for the new release was put into porting and future-proofing the code and method of maintaining the code. There are however some notable functional differences between the new MLU release and the old MLU for Windows.

Improved map layout
The new release of MLU makes it a lot easier to determine your project location visually by picking a map background from Open Streetmap, Open TOPO map or ESRI base maps. An expandable map view is available for each modelling step making it easy to determine the location of your project, pumping and observation wells at each modelling step.

Improved coordinate and units handling
When configuring your project, all coordinates can now be entered in Cartesian (relative), RDnew (Dutch) or WGS84 systems by choosing the coordinate system from the ‘Setup’ tab. Your point of origin can be set by clicking the ‘use current location’ or ‘choose on map’ options. Additionally, pumping- and observation wells can be entered by choosing a location on the map. When using relative coordinates, all pumping wells and observation wells are plotted with respect to your point of origin. When using WGS84 or RDnew, coordinate information can be copy-pasted from your spreadsheet software (LibreOffice, Excel, etc). The copy-paste functionality can also be used with other data like observation wells measurements for instance. The units used can be defined in the metric or imperial system.

Improved contour visualisation and result export
Using the Map view in MLU, custom contours and colours can be chosen for drawdown and injection wells for specified aquifers and times. The contour values and colour codes can be exported and imported from spreadsheet software for consistent use in reports. Contours can now also be exported to GeoJSON format for direct import into GIS software.

Future plans
Besides the features mentioned there are a lot more you can discover for yourself! For future updates of MLU we are looking to work closely with our user base to improve the new web-based application. We are for instance looking into improving the optimization part of the algorithm. Found a bug or want to suggest a new feature? Contact our developers at The previous MLU for Windows is still usable in its current form, however bug-fixes and new features will no longer be implemented.

Start modelling today
As of 2020, CEMS BV owns the MLU software. CEMS offers geotechnical software as a service through REST API’s. These endpoints can be used as a trusted component in scalable automated engineering processes. The MLU browser application is available through our CEMS BV software portal NUCLEI. Simply create your account at our platform Nuclei and start modelling today!

Additionally, the NUCLEI portal is a centralized environment for using our other geotechnical and hydrological modelling and automated design solutions. A free sample is available for all of them. Have your tried automatically determining groundwater statistics (using WaterCore), using a machine learning model to interpret CPT’s (using CPT Core) or creating a vibration risk assessment (using VibraCore) yet?

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