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Australian Defence Force

Background for the Basic and Advanced Analytic Wargaming Courses from the Naval Postgraduate School in Canberra, 17 February to 6 March 2020

Tools available as software packages


1. Quantitative results may be collected and this may require substantial capabilities in statistical analysis and for presentation of results in graphical formats. Conclusion: software for data manipulation, statistical analysis, and presentation of graphics may be required. Packages intended for engineering or scientific applications may also be appropriate.

2. Players and other participants may be canvassed at various times with questionnaires and similar methods for their input. Conclusion: software for preparing, distributing, and analyzing surveys may be required.

3. Some analysis may be conducted in spreadsheets. Conclusion: a package to handle spreadsheets may be required.

4. Some general programming capability may be required, i.e., a commonly available, versatile, and familiar computer language. Packages more tailored to math and physics may also be required. Conclusion: one computer language should be available (e.g., Python) and a capability for algebraic and numerical analysis may be required for certain projects.

5. Geographic products (maps and charts) may be developed for elaborating various scenarios and results of games may be presented as overlays to these maps and charts. Conclusion: software to edit charts and maps and to prepare overlays (i.e., a GIS) may be required.

6. For explanatory purposes and for reporting of results, the analysis team may develop diagrams to illustrate points. If the issue includes networks, a package specifically for the analysis of networks may also be required. Conclusion: a package for editing diagrams and, if this includes complicated networks, e.g., a network of terrorist cells, a package specifically for this may be required.

7. Audio and video recording of game proceedings and of AARs and other group deliberations may be made, with a requirement for editing. Conclusion: software for audio or video editing may be required.

8. To support some forms of adjudication within the game or to explore alternative results, some sort of "off the shelf" simulation package may be valuable. Conclusion: a package that quickly develops a discrete event simulation or a system dynamics model may be required.

9. Imagery may be appropriate for the reporting results. Conclusion: a package for editing digital images may be required.

10. Apart from providing results as printed reports, some results may be formatted for presentation over the web. Conclusion: some facility in producing and editing web pages from results may be required.

Application Category Product Add-ons, Extensions, Libraries, Packages Free-Open Source/ Proprietary Sources for Additional Information Comments
1 Statistical Analysis and Programming R Various Free-Open Programming language with extensive libraries for statistical procedures and graphing
2 Julia Various Free-Open Similar to R, but developed more recently
3 Tableau Prop New development that provides particularly innovative charts and diagrams
4 SAS Various Prop Statistics package widely used in finance and business
5 SPSS Various Prop Statistics package widely used in finance and business
6 Systat Various Prop Statistics package intended for scientific applications.
7 Gretl Free-Open Specifically intended for econometric type of analysis, but suitable for other analysis too.
8 Database MS Access Prop Widely used database package
9 MySQL Free-Open Widely used open source database package.
10 LibreOffice Base Free-Open Similar to MS Access
11 Engineering and Scientific Programming MATLAB Simulink Prop Widely used environment for engineering and physics applications. With Simulink, it can be used for system simulation.
12 GNU Octave Free-Open Open source package, similar to and highly compatible with MatLab
13 SciLab Free-Open Open source package, similar to and highly compatible with MatLab
14 Mathcad Prop
15 Opinion Surveys SurveyMonkey Prop Useful for opinion surveys
16 LimeSurvey Free-Open Useful for opinion surveys, but open source
17 SpreadSheets MS Excel Prop Spreadsheet for data, with useful formulas. Using VBA adds considerable functionality.
18 LibreOffice Calc Free-Open Similar to MS Excel.
19 General Programming Python NumPy, SciPy, and Pandas Free-Open Python is a widely known computer language for general purposes, and can be adapted to numerical procedures and statistical analysis by adding NumPy, SciPy, and Pandas extensions.
20 Java Free-Open Widely used computer language
21 C/C++ Free-Open
22 Algebraic Programming and Numerical Analysis Maple MapleSim Prop For various math and engineering applications, e.g., linear algebra, calculus, algebraic manipulation. MapleSim adds capability in system simulation.
23 Mathematica Prop Similar to Maple
24 SageMath Free-Open Similar to Maple and MAthematica
25 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) ArcGIS Prop Widely used GIS package.
26 FalconView Free-Open GIS package originally developed by Georgia Tech for US Air National Guard. Now open source.
27 Google Earth Free-Open Widely used GIS application over the net. Also available for tailored applications (for a fee).
28 GRASS Free-Open GIS package originally developed by US Army Corps of Engineers. Now open source.
29 Simple Diagrams MS Visio Prop General purpose diagramming tool
30 LibreOffice Draw Free-Open General purpose diagramming tool
31 Inkscape Free-Open Particularly suitable for diagrams intended for web sites as SVG (scalable vector graphics) is the default format.
32 Network Analysis Environments Gephi Free-Open Intended for the analysis of complicated network structures with many nodes and arcs.
33 Audio Editing Audacity Free-Open When game results include audio recordings, suitable editing capability is required to reduce volume of material for analysis and reporting
34 Video Editing VideoStudio Pro X8 Prop When game results include video recordings, suitable editing capability is required to reduce volume of material for analysis and reporting
35 Critical Event Simulation ExtendSim Prop Easy to use simulation package. The version called ExtendSim-OR is specially intended for operations research applications. ExtendSim-CP is tailored to continuous processes, i.e., system dynamics.
36 Arena Prop
37 Simul8 Prop
38 System Dynamics Environment Stella and iThink Prop Two similar packages for modelling using system dynamics constructs.
39 Imagery Editing Adobe Photoshop Prop
40 GIMP Free-Open
41 Web Page Content HTML Free-Open
42 Web Page Format CSS Free-Open
43 Web Page Dynamics JavaScript jQuery, D3.js. and others Free-Open jQuery facilitates adding dynamic to web pages from static HTML, and also eases problems in incompatibilities between various browsers. D3.js for “data driven documents” provides a library in JavaScript to present graphics that allow users to “play with the data”


Each organization has unique characteristics that makes recommending specific software tools a challenge.

So, rather than recommending specific tools, the following questions should be considered when new tools are sought: