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Preferences

The model environment is very adaptable to your tastes so you can set your preferences for everything from showing the startup splash screen to the prompts to save your project changes when you exit. Other file handling options include automatic loading of your most recently used project and deleting cached output files in your simulation directory, but take care not delete your valuable model results. Switch your GIS inputs on or off, and also set the frequency for plotting your graphs and grids. Finally, request the model to email you with it's results when it's finished the simulation. Cool!


The Peferences window is organized into tab sheets.

General



Use the General tab to
  • Show splash screen at startup: control display of the opening splash screen.
    If you have a problem with your model at the very start of the loading process, then the Splash Screen might be better hidden so that you can clearly see what is going on and any error messages.
  • Automatically read parameters at startup : the modelling software always automatically updates the current model after it has been loaded so this option is disabled.
  • Automatically run simulation at startup : this is defunct. See 'Automatically run simulation on project load' option on Files tab.
  • Process system messages during simulations : allowing you to use other programs while leaving your simulation running in the background. If you are sure that you do not want to run additional tasks then switching off system message processing will speed up the simulation time.
  • Display information in status bar : simulation progress is reported on the Main Control Panel status bar.
  • Show detailed process information : another part of the Main Control Panel status bar displays process names which is useful for debugging your models.
  • Automatic Save And Exit : changes to your project are saved without prompting.
  • Prompt To Exit : you will be prompted to save changes to your project.
  • No Prompt : exit without saving and you will lose subsequent changes to your project.

Files



Use the Files tab to
  • Automatically load most recent project : your previously loaded project is reopened at program startup.
  • Expunge most recently used list : clear out your invalid project file paths from the MRU.
  • Limit most recently used list to ? entries : define the length of your MRU list for project retrieval.
  • Purge Grids : clear grid entries in the Graphics Control when your project is loaded.
  • Purge Graphs : clear graph entries in the Graphics Control when your project is loaded.
  • Automatically run simulation on project load : start the simulation process as soon as your project file has been loaded.
  • Output folder : specify where you want your model output to go.
  • Delete files upon simulation: clear out your output folder ready for your simulation. Please take care not to lose previous simulation results!
  • Output general data log : include the default model output file with your other outputs.
  • Include headers in all files : the output file headers briefly identify each of your model output files.
  • Output data precision. ? significant figures : format your model output files.
  • Include project profile in output folder : your project profile holds summary information about your model.
  • Save project upon update : automatically save your project file when you update your model using the Simulation controls on the Main Control Panel
  • Save project upon simulation : automatically save your project file when you run your simulation using the Simulation controls on the Main Control Panel

Graphs



Use the Graphs tab to
  • Plot after every ? simulation days : state how freqently you want your graphs updated.
  • Vary colour by series : defunct option since introduction of the Graphics Control.
  • Continuous automatic data storage : automatically store your plot co-ordinates as columns in text files.
  • Save after every ? simulation days : state how freqently you want your graphs stored.
  • Save on this day every simulation year : alternatively, every 365 days.
  • Terminal automatic data storage : and once at the end of the simulation.
  • Output folder : specify where you want your graph outputs to go. It is a good idea to make this a subfolder of your main output folder so that your outputs are in the same place, and all outputs are cleared out if you have selected their automatic deletion prior to your simulations.
  • Separate subfolders : a subfolder of your output folder is made for each graph and the output from it is stored within.
  • Normalize data : defunct option since introduction of the Graphics Control.
  • Plot annually / continuously : defunct option since introduction of the Graphics Control.
  • Plot daily mean / total : defunct option since introduction of the Graphics Control.
  • Y=EIRO/Forage biomass : defunct option since introduction of the Graphics Control.

Grids



Use the Grids tab to
  • Plot after every ? simulation days : state how freqently you want your grids updated.
  • Redefine colour after every ? simulation days : the intensity of the plot colour to denote the range of the plot variable is self-referencing. It is therefore necessary to update the range of the plot variable to see the true relative colour strengths, but you may decide that there is a tradeoff between accurate plotting and simulation speed. The plot colour does not affect the underlying grid data or any of your text file outputs. Grid screenshots are however as you see them on the screen.
  • Reduced flicker : makes smoother grids but with a slight memory overhead.
  • Decimal places : format for cell labels when displayed in the grid.
  • Automatic storage of Images : you can export screenshot bitmap images of your grids.
  • Automatic storage of Text : you can export text files of your grids.
  • Automatic storage of Text Grid : you can request a flat-file grid format for your grid text files.
  • Automatic storage of Text Co-ordinate Columns : you can request a 3-column (x,y,z) grid format for your grid text files.
  • Continuous storage: automatically store your grid exports in the requested formats.
  • Save after every ? simulation days : state how freqently you want your grids stored.
  • Save on this day every simulation year : alternatively, every 365 days.
  • Terminal automatic data storage : and once at the end of the simulation.
  • Output folder : specify where you want your graph outputs to go. It is a good idea to make this a subfolder of your main output folder so that your outputs are in the same place, and all outputs are cleared out if you have selected their automatic deletion prior to your simulations.
  • Separate subfolders: a subfolder of your output folder is made for each grid and the output from it is stored within.

GIS Input



Use the GIS Input tab to
  • Use my GIS input data: here you can override your GIS data entered into the GIS Control. Useful for checking other parameters and settings without committing to an entire preparation of your simulation which includes processing your GIS data.
  • Ignore any zeroes : include only positive data. This is globally set here for all of your GIS input files, but would be better on a per file basis. This has been added to the wish list.
  • Process missing data flag : missing data is often flagged with an unusual value, often -9999, which would make a mess of summary statistics and the resampling algorithms used to process your GIS data in the GIS Control. Here you csn select to include or ignore the missing data flags. This is globally set here for all of your GIS input files, but would be better on a per file basis. This has been added to the wish list.
  • Missing data flag value : you can set any value to denote missing data. This is globally set here for all of your GIS input files, but would be better on a per file basis. This has been added to the wish list.
  • Suppress popup dialog boxes in GIS Control : some of your GIS data can be imported, viewed and modified in windows other than the GIS Control. With this option deselected, when you select either your Site Area Mask or the Water/Bomas entry for an animal in your model and click on the browse button in the GIS Control, the dedicated window will appear for you to use instead of simply using the standard dialog boxes in the GIS Control. For your Site Area Mask, the Site Area Mask window appears, and the Water Locator window for your animal Water/Bomas.
  • Show areas excluded by my mask using this colour : the area defined as being outside your site by your Site Area Mask are shown using this colour in the grid displays. Change the colour to your choice using the Select Colour button to bring up the standard dialog

GIS Output



Use the GIS Output tab to
  • Prompt for each export destination : when converting your GIS data to ascii flat-files as described in the notes about the GIS Control you will be prompted for somewhere to save each of your ascii files.
  • Use my default export destination : if you want all of your GIS data to be saved as ascii files in the same folder then choose this option.
  • Output folder : if you want all of your GIS data to be saved as ascii files in the same folder then this is where you specify that location.
  • Include headers in output files : you can label your exported ascii files using headers but you need to have no headers in the files that you include in your model.
  • Replace my GIS data selections with the corresponding exported data files : there are many reasons why you might want to export your GIS data as ascii files, but for modelling purposes the most useful reason is to then use the exported ascii files for your GIS inputs rather than your binary GIS files, for the reasons given in the notes about the GIS Control. This option automates that process.

Errors



The modelling software has been designed with accuracy in mind. If errors occur during your simulation that cause system failures then there is a robust error handling module that captures the exception, breaks the simulation process and returns information on the cause of the crash. If the error is mathematical but does not jeopadise completion of your simulation then the error handler reports the error and offers you the option to continue or terminate the simulation.

The errors referred to by the Errors tab are caused by tolerence thresholds being broken. For example if the actual value of a variable and its expected value that has been independently estimated differ by more than a tolerence threshold then this departure is recorded in a dedicated error log or displayed in a message box. You can record these errors for the Plant and Animal modules in your model, and before you worry too much, the tolerence thresholds for differences that we are talking about are in the order of 0.00001 so it's really more to do with arithmetic housekeeping.

Use the Errors tab to
  • Display errors in plant module : display a message box if differences are found in the Plant modules.
  • Display errors in animal module : display a message box if differences are found in the Animal modules.
  • Capture errors to file : record a log of differences found in the Plant and Animal modules.
  • Processes trace to file : the trace file records whatever appears in the information display of the Main Control Panel, ad nauseum, but it is useful for understanding the sequence of processes in the modelling software, as well as debugging your models if necessary.
  • Save to this file : specify where you want your trace file to go.

Email



Yes that's right, your model can email you when your simulation has finished. How cool is that? Really very useful for leaving your simulation running on a remote computer and accessing your email from elsewhere.

Use the Email tab to
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