Aquaveo & Water Resources Engineering News

Avoiding Grid Over Refinement in GMS

When building a grid for your groundwater model, it can certainly be tempting to make a really refined grid. While this temptation is understandable, there are certain pitfalls that can result from having a grid that is overly refined. This post will go over some of the reasons to avoid overrefining your grid in GMS.

There are, of course, legitimate reasons to refine portions of your grid. Portions of the grid that are key areas should be refined. This should be done only in areas around wells or other structures that are important to the model. By refining key areas, important areas of the grid will receive more attention during the model run. However, over refining your grid can cause some issues, including some of the following ones listed here.

Example of Grid Refinement

When you are refining, you are creating more grid cells in your grid. Each of these cells will be used in the model run calculation. A grid that has been over refined generally has a lot of cells that need to be used in the model calculations, many of which are unnecessary. This will cause the model run to go slower and take longer than the same model without the over refinement.

Because an over refined grid contains refined cells in unimportant areas of the project, the data from these areas can sometimes skew the results. The model run does not generally discriminate between important and unimportant parts of the grid. When it encounters a portion of the grid that has a lot of cells, it gathers all the data it can for that area. In an over refined grid, this can mean it gathers more data than the model needs, which sometimes can skew the results.

The biggest issue we most often see is when over refined grids cause the model to fail to converge. Once again, an over refined grid will have too many cells and be collecting too much nonessential data. All of this can overwhelm the model and can cause the model run to diverge. To resolve this, you will need to simplify the grid so that the model run stays focused on the key areas of the model.

Try out some of these tips while refining grids in GMS 10.5 today!

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World Bank ArcHydro Groundwater Training

Recently, Aquaveo had the opportunity to participate in an ArcHydro Groundwater training organized by the World Bank. The online training happened from the 9th to the 12th of November 2021.

AHGW example

The training covered the uses and applications of the ArcHydro Groundwater (AHGW) tool used with ArcGIS. AHGW aids in displaying and analyzing multidimensional groundwater data, including representations of aquifers and wells/boreholes, 3D hydrogeologic models, temporal information, and data from simulation models.

Topics covered in the 4-day training included setting up a groundwater model and working with boreholes data. Other topics covered further included creating wells and cross sections in groundwater models, along with performing model analysis.

The training had 30 active participants in attendance from the National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC), the National Hydrology Project (NHP), the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), the Water Resources Department (WRD) of the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, and ESRI. For the online training, participants were located in various states in India including: Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.

Aquaveo would like to thank the World Bank for setting up this online training. We'd also like to thank all of the participants for their interest and efforts in using AHGW.

If you are interested in attending a training session for AHGW or any of Aquaveo's products, check out our training page for upcoming training sessions. Training sessions can be either in-person or online. Additionally, you can request a training session from Aquaveo by contacting our consulting team.

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Plotting Observed Data onto a Computed Time Series Plot

Have you been wanting to make a direct graphical comparison of observed time series water-level data with computed time series water-level data? Have you been hoping to use data observed in the field to help calibrate your 2D hydraulic model in this way? While not officially supported yet, we have a workaround that could potentially help with this. This post will review how to plot both observed and computed water-level data onto the same time series plot.

There is no direct method for plotting observed data onto a computed time series graph. However, the following workflow should be able to suffice as a solution:

  1. From within SMS, bring up the File Import Wizard by using File | Open to select the file for your observed time series data.
  2. On Step 2 of the File Import Wizard, set the SMS data type drop-down to "Scatter Set", and once properly configured, click Finish to close the File Import Wizard and import the observed time series data into SMS as a scatter set.
  3. Once the data has been imported, interpolate the scatter set to your mesh by right-clicking on the scatter set and selecting the Interpolate to... command to bring up the Interpolation Options dialog.
  4. Select the scatter set data you would like and the mesh you would like to interpolate the data to, and click OK to close the dialog and interpolate.
  5. Click the Plot Wizard macro to bring up Step 1 of the Plot Wizard dialog.
  6. Select "Time Series" from the Plot Type list and click Next > to move on to Step 2 of the Plot Wizard.
  7. Select "Use selected datasets" and then click the All Off button underneath it. This will now allow you to select which specific datasets you would like to appear on the graph.
  8. Click Finish to close the Plot Wizard and bring up the Plot Window. The graph you have specified should appear.
  9. To further modify the graph, right-click on it and select Plot Data... to bring up the Data Options dialog. This will allow you to get back to the previous options and change your selection of datasets.
Example of a plot combining observed data in a computed time series plot

A future version of SMS may incorporate a more direct method for this process. But don’t let that stop you from trying out plotting observed data onto a computed time series plot in SMS 13.1 today!

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Using the Axes Display in GMS

Have you tried using plotted axes to help orient the display of your models in the Graphics Window for your groundwater modeling projects in GMS? Within the Display Options in GMS, there is a set of options that will allow users to activate this and modify how it will display. This post will review how to utilize the Plot Axes functionality found in the Display Options dialog within GMS.

To locate the Axes options in GMS, open up the Display Options dialog by doing the following:

  1. Click the Display Options macro or go to the Display | Display Options... command.
  2. Select the Axes option on the left.
  3. Turn on the checkbox labeled "Enable axes" to activate the plot axes.

By default, the axes are turned off, and all the other options below it grayed out as a result. This is why axes are not usually visible on their own in the Graphics Window. Turning this option on will generate axes within the Graphics Window. The axes will naturally be sized to contain the entirety of the model within it. If the Graphics Window is currently set to Plan, Front, or Side View, rotation might be required for all of the axes to be visible.

Example of the Axes Display Options

The Axes display options allow you to control the different aspects of the axes display, such as:

  • Fly modes to set where in space the axes will be placed.
  • Tick location options to set which direction tick lines along the axes will be drawn pointing to, either inward or outward.
  • Grid line location options to set which surfaces grid lines are actually drawn on, which can help in visualizing the grid.
  • A spreadsheet containing options for editing each individual axis, as well as a row for editing all of them at once.

Try out experimenting with Axes display options in GMS 10.5 today!

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Performing a Silent Install for ALS

Are you an IT administrator needing to perform a silent install of GMS, SMS, or WMS in a classroom or office? We have gone over the process to do this in the past. However, our licensing methods have changed since those instructions were first written. Because of this, we have felt it would be useful to update our users on the new method of configuration so they will be able to properly set up their silent installs. This post will review registration for the new licensing method and how to perform silent installs with it.

This silent install (or quiet install) workaround requires each user to have the rights to modify the registry. If registry access is restricted, a network administrator can do this by opening the Group Policy Management Editor and creating a startup script that automatically runs the batch file whenever the computer is restarted.

Note: Editing the Registry in Windows is a very advanced administration step. Please always create a backup of the Registry before making changes.

It can be a burden to manually update the local code in HKEY_CURRENT_USER for each user on each computer. The silent install process is simplified by creating a Windows Registry file that contains the license information and a batch file that can be executed to insert the registry information and launch WMS. The batch file automatically updates the registry for the user and then opens the WMS application. This is the safest way to edit the registry key, as well. The batch file can then be placed on each computer that needs to be updated, and the individual users can execute it as needed.

This workaround uses WMS as an example. This information also applies to GMS and SMS. You can see an example of a registry file in step 1 and the batch file in step 2, below.

  1. Create a file, "Netenble.001.reg", as follows:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00M

    ALS = 1 specifies the new registration wizard, with new "Local" codes beginning with L, F, or E, instead of 0 for the old network lock. ALSHost = because the code is being located on the local machine. And ALSPort = 56789 should be the default - you can alternatively specify your own port if you would like. You could also specify an ALSCode (license code) as well if you don’t want registration to be required when first launching WMS.
    Note: This information was created using Windows 10. Because different Windows versions can have different REG file formats, we recommend you install WMS on one machine, register it to the correct local code, then export the registry key. Open the registry file in the text editor and remove every line except those similar to those shown in the image above, and save the file as "Netenble.001.reg".
  2. Create a file, "wms11.bat", that will update the registry and start WMS:
    reg import Netenble.001.reg
  3. Place these two files in the WMS folder in the image that will be distributed to the affected computers. For example, for the 64-bit version of WMS 11.1, the default location for the folder is “C:\Program Files\WMS 11.1 64-bit\”.
  4. Create a desktop shortcut to the batch file for the convenience of the user. If doing this via a startup script in the Group Policy Management Editor, this step can be skipped.

This silent install workaround can save you significant time as a network administrator. If you experience issues while performing a silent install, feel free to contact Aquaveo for assistance.

Associating HY-8 Files with SMS

Have you wondered about how HY-8 interacts with SRH-2D in SMS? This post will review what HY-8 and SRH-2D are doing as they interact with each other.

SRH-2D has an option to use the HY-8 software to define culverts. Using the HY-8 software allows for greater definition for the culvert as opposed to defining the culvert directly in SMS. The Launch HY-8 button in the SRH-2D Assign BC dialog creates the HY-8 file and associates the file with the culvert arcs and SMS project. It is important to keep this file with the SMS project, otherwise the HY-8 file may become unassociated with the culvert.

Multiple culverts can be in the same HY-8 file, so be certain the correct culvert has been associated to the culvert arcs in SMS.

SRH-2D culvert using HY-8

When assigning properties to arcs that have been set to a BC Type of Culvert HY-8, there is a checkbox option to turn on 2D terrain for overtopping. When this is unchecked, SRH-2D will create a *_HYn.dat for the crossing. When this is checked, SRH-2D will instead create an *_INTERNALn.dat file for the crossing. In this case, SRH-2D will use the HY-8 table, but won’t see the structure as a HY-8 culvert, but as essentially a link structure.

Typically, the overtopping option is used when overtopping flow is expected to travel in a different direction from the rest of the flow. If the flow over the culvert and the flow in the culvert are both flowing in the same direction, it is not recommended to use 2D Overtopping. This is because the link structure in SRH-2D can get flow from both upstream and downstream of the boundary arc and the flow coming out of the downstream arc can go in any direction.

When SRH-2D runs, it will generate output files that are sent to an Output_MISC folder in the file directory of your current SMS project. Here, HY-8 culvert report files and/or pressure flow overtopping report files should be found, following the respective naming schemes of “*_HYn.dat” and “*_INTERNALn.dat”. The “*” is a placeholder for the specific case name specified in the model control, and the “n” will be replaced with a number in a series, for as many relevant zones or arc pairs exist in the series. We unfortunately don’t have any control over the naming convention SRH-2D uses.

More information about the different types of SRH-2D output files that may be put out after an SRH-2D run can be found here at the Aquaveo XMS Wiki.

Try out using HY-8 with SRH-2D in SMS 13.1 today!

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Incorporating Transport Observation Points into a MT3DMS Model

Have you wanted to incorporate the TOB package while running MT3DMS in GMS? We have a workflow that can help with this, as part of building an MT3DMS model in GMS with a conceptual model approach. This post will review how to incorporate transport observation points into your MT3DMS model in GMS.

To do so, use the following steps:

Transport Observatin Package
  1. With your MT3DMS model already open in GMS, right-click the conceptual model and select New Coverage... to create a new coverage and bring up the Coverage Setup dialog.
  2. While in the Coverage Setup dialog, turn on whichever options you want to be observing for in the Obs. Data column of the Observation Points section.
  3. Once done with the Coverage Setup dialog and with a new coverage created, create some points within the coverage.
  4. Using the Select Points\Nodes tool, select the points you have just created, right-click on one of them, and select Attribute Table… to bring up the Attribute Table dialog.
  5. Set the Type drop-down in the All row to obs. pt in the Attribute Table dialog to set the BC type to Observation Points for the points.
  6. Once done with the Attribute Table dialog and with the points set as observation points, right-click the new coverage and select Map To | MODFLOW/MODPATH to map the new coverage to MODFLOW.
  7. Now select MT3DMS | Basic Transport Package… to bring up the Basic Transport Package dialog.
  8. Select the Packages... button to bring up the MT3DMS/RT3D Packages dialog.
  9. Turn on the option for Transport observation package.
  10. Now select MT3DMS | Transport Observation Package... to bring up the Transport Observation Package dialog.
  11. Now you will have the ability to turn on the option to Compute concentrations at observation points and select coverages with concentration observations to be used.

Try out incorporating transport observation points into MT3DMS models in GMS 10.5 today!

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Tips for Using the Measure Tool in WMS

Have you used the Measure tool in WMS? You probably have, but would you like to know more about the tools capabilities? This post will review the capabilities of the Measure tool and give some tips for using it.

The Measure tool allows you to measure distance, slope, and in some cases angles along a path you define. It is designed to give you real-world measurement sizes, and can be useful when the scale of parts of a model aren't immediately apparent. When the tool is selected, you will be able to define a series of line segments along a path. This path can be continually defined until it is terminated by double-clicking. When the path is terminated, it will disappear from the Graphics Window, but along the bottom of WMS, in the Help Message window, the relevant values will be displayed in red text. These will be updated whenever the Measure tool is used, reflecting the most recent path that was defined.

Example of using the Measure tool

The units for distance and slope will depend on the units set by the projection, or by the project defaults, either ft and ft/ft (feet) or m and m/m (meters). It is recommended to make certain you have set the correct units for your project before using the Measure tool.

Angle will only be reported when a line only has two points, whereas distance and slope are always reported. Angle will be measured in radians. Angle will be calculated by measuring an angle starting from a reference line pointing south from the first point, and ending at the line segment defined by the two points.

If you have a TIN or DEM loaded into the project, the Measure tool will be able to get slope values. When the Measure tool is used on an area without elevation data, the slope will be given a value of zero. Slope will be calculated by taking the distance-weighted average of the slopes of all the segments. For each segment, slope will be calculated by dividing the change in elevation across the points by the xy distance of the segment.

The Measure tool can help you build and design your project with accuracy. Try out the Measure tool in WMS 11.1 today!

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Understanding SRH-2D Post-Processing

Do you want to know more about what happens when SMS completes post-processing for SRH-2D? When running SRH-2D, it helps to understand what exactly is happening during the post-processing phase of the SMS model run. This post will review how post-processing uses interpolation as it goes through SRH-2D.

To understand how post-processing fits into the SRH-2D process, first we need to look at what comes before it. When creating an SRH-2D model in SMS, the data is assigned as nodal data. This means that the boundary conditions, materials and other data is assigned to the nodes of the mesh. SRH-2D requires that the data be assigned to the center of the mesh elements (the centroid).

To allow the nodal data to be used by SRH-2D, SMS uses a pre-processing step that utilizes linear interpolation to interpolate the data that has been modelled in SMS into centroidal data for SRH-2D to use. After SHR-2D has finished processing the data, it creates results that use centroidal data. This is where the post-processor comes in.

The post-processor for SRH-2D takes the SRH-2D results and interpolates the data from centroidal data and converts it into nodal data. This allows SMS to import and display the solution data.

Post-processing for SRH-2D

If the post-processor fails in its attempt, this usually means the centroidal data generated from SRH-2D is not valid. In this case, it could be possible that the model failed to converge even if SRH-2D managed to completely finish its model run. It could also be possible that SRH-2D was made to run an invalid model that resulted in empty solution sets.

For more information on how to use SRH-2D with SMS, see the XMS Wiki article on SRH-2D in SMS. Future versions of SMS may make use of centroidal data without the need to interpolate data.

Now that you understand a little more about how SMS handles post-processing, try out SRH-2D in SMS 13.1 today!

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Using the Drawing Grid in GMS

Have you needed to create precise drawing on your map coverage for your groundwater modeling project in GMS? Using the Drawing Grid display options can help with this. This post will review what these are and how they can be used in your GMS project.

When the drawing grid is turned on, you will have a grid which can be used to reference and measure positions in the project.

The Drawing Grid in the Graphics Window

To access the GMS Drawing Grid display options:

  1. Open up the Display Options dialog, either by going to the Display | Display Options command or clicking on the Display Options macro.
  2. Once the dialog has opened up, select Drawing Grid from the list on the left, and the dialog will populate with the relevant options.

The following is a list of the GMS Drawing Grid display options and what they do.

This Spacing option allows the user to specify by how many units each grid point is separated. This will determine how dense or scattered out the points are, so it is useful to set a value that won’t either be too cluttered or too open.

When the Snap option is selected, all new (not previously existing) vertices, nodes, points, etc., will snap to the nearest grid point when they are being created, or will interactively snap to grid points if they are being dragged. When this is not selected, the drawn grid will have no impact on where they will be placed. Turning this on can be useful when constructing certain features that are meant to conform to the more rigid structure of a grid.

When the Display Grid Lines option is selected, grid lines will be displayed, using the Line spacing increment to determine how many grid points are passed over before another line is drawn. There are also two buttons to the right of this option which will allow the user to customize the look of the lines. Using grid lines can help complement grid points by giving more of a structure to the drawing grid rather than it being just a set of points, especially when the lines are separated at a good distance.

When the Display Grid Points option is selected, grid points will be displayed similar to how the grid lines are displayed, except using the Point spacing increment instead of the Line spacing increment. Grid points not displayed are still functioning as intended within GMS, they just aren’t visible. There are also two buttons to the right of this option which will allow the user to customize the look of the points. Using grid points can help quantify in the Graphics Window where everything is placed and give it orientation, especially when the points are separated at a good distance.

Try experimenting with Drawing Grid display options in GMS 10.5 today!

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