Advanced Usage (Script)

After the installation, the next sections describe on how to get started. The sections configuration and logging describe the general methods we use, this is helpful to understand how you can change model parameters and similar.

Advanced (Script) Installation

This is a quick guide on how to install AvaFrame and the required dependencies on your machine. AvaFrame is developed on Linux machines (Ubuntu/Manjaro/Arch) with recent Python versions > 3.8. These instructions assume you are familiar with working in a terminal. This guide is currently described for Linux only, but expert users should be able to adapt it to Windows.


Install git and python, we suggest to work with miniconda/anaconda. For installation see miniconda or anaconda. Some operating systems might require the python headers (e.g python-dev on ubuntu) or other supporting libraries/packages (e.g. Visual Studio on Windows).

Setup AvaFrame

Create a new conda environment for AvaFrame, activate it and install pip, numpy and cython in this environment:

conda create --name avaframe_env
conda activate avaframe_env
conda install pip numpy cython

Clone the AvaFrame repository (in a directory of your choice: [YOURDIR]) and change into it:

git clone
cd AvaFrame

Compile the cython com1DFA part. You might also have to install a c-compiler (gcc or similar) through your systems package manager:

python build_ext --inplace


You will have to do this compilation every time something changes in the cython code. We also suggest to do this everytime updates from the repositories are pulled.

Install avaframe and its requirements:

pip install -e .

This installs avaframe in editable mode, so every time you import avaframe the current (local) version will be used.

Test it by starting python and do an import avaframe. If no error comes up, you are good to go.

Head over to First run for the next steps.

Update AvaFrame

To update go to your avaframe repository [YOURDIR]/Avaframe, pull the latest changes via:

git pull

and repeat the compilation step from above:

python build_ext --inplace

If there are updates on the requirements inside, it might be necessary to run:

pip install -e .

again to get the additional requirements installed.

First run

Follow these steps to run your first simulation:

  • change into your AvaFrame directory (replace [YOURDIR] with your path from the installation steps):

    cd [YOURDIR]/AvaFrame/avaframe
  • run:

  • a similar output should show up:

    logUtils - INFO -  Started logging at: 03.11.2020 22:42:04
    logUtils - INFO -  Also logging to: data/avaParabola/runCom1DFA.log
    runCom1DFA - INFO -  MAIN SCRIPT
    runCom1DFA - INFO -  Current avalanche: data/avaParabola

This will perform a dense flow avalanche simulation using the com1DFA module. The results are saved to data/avaParabola/Outputs/com1DFA. For a first look at the results, got to the folder reports, there you can find a markdown report of the simulations performed including some plots of the results.

To display markdown files in a nice way use a markdown viewer of your choice. Some other options are:

  • Use the Atom editor with a markdown plugin

  • If you have pandoc installed use this to convert it to pdf/html

  • Some browsers have markdown extensions you can install easily

Workflow example

The following example should make it easier for you to find your way in AvaFrame and setup your own AvaFrame workflow after you did the full setup. There is also a directory with examples for different workflows, see more here: Example runscripts.

Make sure you change to your AvaFrame directory by:

cd [YOURDIR]/AvaFrame

Replace [YOURDIR] with the directory from your installation step.

Initialize project

To create the folder where the input data lies and where the output results will be saved, specify the full path to the folder in the local_avaframeCfg.ini (which is a copy of avaframeCfg.ini that you need to create). So:

cd avaframe
cp avaframeCfg.ini local_avaframeCfg.ini

and edit local_avaframeCfg.ini with your favorite text editor and adjust the variable avalancheDir.

Then run

python runScripts/

This will create a new directory with the input required by AvaFrame structured as described in Initialize Project.

Input data

Check the input data required by the different modules you want to use and fill the Inputs/ inside the [avalancheDir] folder from the initialize step accordingly.

For example the com1DFA module needs input as described in Input. You can also have a look at the default setting for the module you want to use (for example com1DFACfg.ini for module com1DFA). If you want to use different settings, create a local_ copy of the .ini file and modify the desired parameters.

More information about the configuration can be found here: Configuration

Building your run script

Create your own workflow by taking the script as template.

We suggest you copy it and adjust it to your liking. There are annotations in the code that should help you to understand the structure.

A lot more examples can be found in the runScripts directory (see also Example runscripts).


In order to set the configurations required by all the modules within Avaframe, the python module configparser is used.

This is done in two steps. The first step fetches the main settings:

from avaframe.in3Utils import cfgUtils
# Load avalanche directory from general configuration file
cfgMain = cfgUtils.getGeneralConfig()
avalancheDir = cfgMain['MAIN']['avalancheDir']

In the second step the specific settings to a given module are imported:

from avaframe.tmp1Ex import tmp1Ex
# Load all input Parameters from config file
# get the configuration of an already imported module
# Write config to log file
cfg = cfgUtils.getModuleConfig(tmp1Ex)

The in3Utils.cfgUtils.getModuleConfig() function reads the settings from a configuration file (tmpEx.ini in our example) and writes these settings to the log file. The default settings can be found in the configuration file provided within each module.

It is possible to modify these settings, there are two options:

  • provide the path to your own configuration file when calling cfgUtils.getModuleConfig(moduleName, path to config file)

  • create a copy of the module configuration file called local_ followed by the name of the original configuration file and set the desired values of the individual parameters.

So the order is as follows:

  1. if there is a path provided, configuration is read from this file.

  2. if there is no path provided, the local_... configuration file is read if it exists.

  3. if there is no local_..., the getModuleConfig function reads the settings from the default configuration file with the default settings.

In the configuration file itself, there are multiple options to vary a parameter:

  • replace the default parameter value with desired value

  • provide a number of parameter values separated by | (e.g. relTh=1.|2.|3.)

  • provide a number of parameter values using start:stop:numberOfSteps (e.g. relTh=1.:3.:3)) - a single value can be added by appending &4.0 for example


In order to generate simulation logs and to control what is prompted to the terminal, we use the python module logging.

Let’s have a look at the simple example in runScripts.runTmp1Ex and tmp1Ex.tmp1Ex() on how this is used within AvaFrame.

In your main script call:

from avaframe.in3Utils import logUtils
# log file name; leave empty to use default runLog.log
logName = 'runTmp1Ex'
# specify the working directory
avalancheDir = './'
# ---------------------------------------------
# Start logging
log = logUtils.initiateLogger(avalancheDir, logName)

This will configure the logging (it sets the console output as well as the log file). In your modules/subscripts add:

import logging
log = logging.getLogger(__name__)

So you can use:

log.debug('Should be here')'DEM : %s',variable)

To get output that looks like this in your console:

tmp1Ex:DEBUG - Should be here
tmp1Ex:INFO - DEM : /path/to/DEM

and something similar in the .log file which is saved in ./runTmp1Ex.log in this example. The logging configuration is set in AvaFrame/avaframe/in3Utils/logging.conf.

You can modify this logging.conf file to modify the levels or format of the messages to display (python doc will help you).

Example runscripts

In runScripts we provide ready-to-use scripts for different applications of the modules provided within AvaFrame.

Derive input data

  • runScripts.runComputeDist

Create a new project

  • runScripts.runInitializeProject

Generate idealized/generic topography data

  • runScripts.runGenerateTopo

  • runScripts.runGenProjTopoRelease


  • runScripts.runAna3AIMEC

  • runScripts.runAna3AIMECCompMods

  • runScripts.runAna3AIMECIndi

  • runScripts.runStatsExample

  • runScripts.runProbAna


  • runScripts.runQuickPlotSimple

  • runScripts.runQuickPlotOne

  • runScripts.runPlotTopo

  • runScripts.runExportToCsv


  • runScripts.runDamBreak

  • runScripts.runSimilaritySol

  • runScripts.runTestFP

  • runScripts.runStandardTestsCom1DFAOrig

  • runScripts.runComparisonModules

  • runScripts.runFetchBench

  • runScripts.runWriteDesDict