Skip to content


At the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/IOTWS II) in Hyderabad in December 2005, a recommendation was made by Working Group 4 to establish a web-based community model. It is envisioned that the Community model and the associated tools will be the primary avenue to transfer modeling expertise and capabilities to and between the IO countries. The community model will provide tools for the construction of tsunami inundation maps under different scenarios and for real-time tsunami forecast applications and thus will be a critical tool for building tsunami resilient communities.

A ‘community’ model is a model which is a non-commercial model freely available with source code and documentation for use by the scientific community. The concept of the community model is widespread in many fields where numerical models are common research tools. Examples in oceanography and meteorology include SWAN (wave generation and propagation model [1]); ROMS (Regional Ocean Modelling System [2]); and, NearCoM Funwave (Boussinesq wave model [3]).

To develop inundation maps for coastal communities of the Indian Ocean region a community model was identified as the primary tool at ICG/IOTWS-II. Subsequently, USAID funded PMEL/NOAA to develop such a tool which has been named: ComMIT: COMmunity Model Interface for Tsunami. The tool will allow Indian Ocean nations access to modeling tools with an internet-enabled interface. ComMIT will enable government agencies and others in the region to run tsunami models, using data from local or remote databases. This approach has several advantages: (1) it allows nations without a significant cadre of trained modelers to built tsunami modeling capability for forecast and hazard assessment; (2) it allows nations with restrictions on sharing geo-spatial data to input that data locally and not share it with other web-based model users, at the same time but share the model results regionally or globally; and , (3) most significantly, the internet-based approach creates a virtual regional and global community of modelers using the same tools and approaches to understand tsunami threats, all able to share information and insights among themselves.

General Description

Tsunami models (both deepwater propagation and inundation) require information on: (1) bottom and coastal topography; (2) initial and boundary conditions; and, (3) model run specific information such as time-step, spatial resolution and length of model run. The aim of ComMIT is to provide an interface which allows for the selection of model input data (initial condition, bathymetry grids, etc) as well as a platform to display model output through a graphical user interface (GUI). The interface also allows for internet sharing of the model results and use of shared databases. ComMIT has been written in the Java programming language (requiring version 1.5) and uses NetCDF format for model input and output thus making ComMIT platform independent (i.e. it may be run on different platforms such as MS WINDOWS, MAC OS or UNIX). ComMIT may be used with different computational model (or a combination of models) with the requirement that the models are able to input and output data in specified format (mostly NetCDF format – network Common Data Format [4]), and that input parameters for the model are read from a simple text (ASCII) file. Use of universally excepted and standardized NetCDF format provides access to a number of open-source software for model data presentation and analysis. At present, the MOST model is implemented to work with the interface.