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The GREAT-ER research project


GREAT-ER 4.1 is now available as a blueprint for free download.

The password protected self-extracting (ZIP)-archive includes the GREAT-ER model system, two complete databases of a test catchment and documentation files.

To get the password please send us an email for your request. Please give us your name, your organization and the most likely intended field of application. 

color coded map of simulation results

GREAT-ER (Geography-referenced Regional Exposure Assessment Tool for European Rivers) is a powerful software tool for modeling the fate and behaviour of chemical substances in surface waters. It combines a geographic information system (GIS) with chemical models for calculating and modeling spatially explicit substance concentrations.

Model structure

The systems core element is an emission and river model that reflect immission pathways and the fate of chemicals in surface waters. Model equations calculate chemicals down-the-drain which means simulations follow substances from emission sources through sewer systems to the river network. Emission sources can be households, hospitals, industrial sources as well as agricultural land.

Input data used for calculations are physico-chemical and biochemical parameters and geographically localised production and usage patterns. Based on this data the model is able to calculate expected substance loads and surface water concentrations and to present results in color coded maps.
Using the GREAT-ER model it is easy to define and to evaluate scenarios on usage patterns or technical improvements of sewage treatment plants. In addition several tools are available to analyse results in ArcGIS directly.

GREAT-ER creates a direct link between emission and immission (concentration) and provides the possibility to analyse potential hot spots showing the highest concentrations within a catchment as well as to identify the most important emission sources on a regional scale.


GREAT-ER version 4 is a implemented as an extension to the ArcGIS software system and is useable as a toolbar in the ArcGIS user interface. Some of the major programme functions are:

  • comfortable scenario management
  • direct work with model results in ArcGIS    
  • considerably possiblilties to analyse simulation results 
  • build up complex scenarios easily
  • possibility to compare and evaluate scenarios and measures

The latest version – GREAT-ER 4.1 – provides numerous features for graphical output and analysis of simulation results as well as a menu-driven scenario definition dialog. The latter can be used for a priori evaluation of reduction measures by comparison of simulation results from management scenarios with the status quo represented by respective reference scenarios.

GREAT-ER 4.1 is now available as a blueprint for free download.

For more informations and be informed about new versions of the GREAT-ER model system please send us an Email




Processed german catchments for use with the GREAT-ER model

Available river basins

So far these river basins were preprocessed to get used by the GREAT-ER model system:

Ruhr river tributary of river Rhein located in Northrhein-Westfalia (ca. 220 km Länge)
Sieg river tributary of river Rhein located in Northrhein-Westfalia (ca. 150 km Länge)
Main river Drittgrösste Nebenfluss des Rheins (ca. 520 km Länge)
Donau river Bavarian part of river Donau (about 21.000 sqkm river length)
Itter river small tributary to river Rhein in Northrhein-Westfalia
Hase river tributary of river Ems in Lower Saxony(about 170 km length)
Glatt river Swiss tributary of river Rhein (about 38 km Länge)

Further informations:


    Geo-referenced Modeling of Zinc in the Ruhr River basin - Emissions and Immission
    Hüffmeyer, N.; Klasmeier, J.; Matthies, M. (2007)
    [Poster | Abstract

    Geo-referenced Aquatic Exposure Modelling of Area-related Emission Situations
    Heß, O.; Klasmeier, J.; Matthies, M. (2003)
    [Poster | Abstract ]

    Human Pharmaceuticals in Surface Waters of the Elbe River Basin - Emission, Fate and Exposure Assessment
    Schröder, A.; Heß, O.; Matthies, M; Scharenberg, B.; Schmidt, R. (2002)
    [Poster | Abstract ]

    Geo-referenced Aquatic Exposure Assessment of Indicator Substances for Household Chemicals and Industrial Emissions
    Klasmeier, J.; Matthies, M. (2002)
    [Poster | Abstract ]

    Identification and Prediction of Site-specific Concentrations using the Georeferenced Exposure Assessment Tool GREAT-ER
    Heß, O.; Schröder, A.; Matthies, M; Scharenberg, B. (2002)
    [Poster | Abstract ]

    Using Monitoring Data of two large German River Catchments for the Calibration of GREAT-ER
    Heß, O.; Schröder, A.; Matthies, M. (2001)
    [ Poster | Abstract ]

    GREAT-ER: Validation by Monitoring in the U.K. and in Italy
    Martin Holt, Kay Fox, Mark Burford, Gerard Morris, Mic Daniel, Joanne Briddock, James McEvoy, Harold Buckland, Claudio Gandolfi, Giorgio Cassani
    [Poster | Abstract ]

    Geographic Information System Methodology for Geo-Referenced Exposure Assessment of Down-the-Drain Chemicals
    Jan-Oliver Wagner & Michael Matthies
    [Poster | Abstract ]

    A Geo-Referenced Fate Simulation Methodology for Aquatic Exposure Assessment of Down-the-Drain Chemicals
    G. Boeije & P. Vanrolleghem
    [Poster | Abstract ]

    Development of a Geography-referenced Regional Exposure Assessment Tool for European Rivers - GREAT-ER
    T. Feijtel, G. Boeije, M. Matthies, A. Young, G. Morris, C. Gandolfi, B. Hansen, K. Fox, M. Holt, V. Koch, R. Schröder, G. Cassani, D. Schowanek, J. Rosenblom and H. Niessen
    [Poster | Abstract ]