Aquaveo & Water Resources Engineering News

Introducing the Toolbox in SMS 13.2

One of the new features added to SMS 13.2 is the Toolbox. The addition of the Toolbox allows multiple tools to be collected into one location. Many of these tools previously existed in other locations in SMS such as the Dataset Toolbox. In addition to these tools new tools have been developed for the Toolbox.

You can access the Toolbox using the Toolbox macro button located on the macro toolbar. Clicking the macro will open the Toolbox dialog containing a list of available tools.

The tools have been organized into folders in the Tools tab. Examples of folders include: Coverages, Datasets, Rasters, and Unstructured Grids.

  • Coverage tools are used to manipulate coverages and feature objects.
  • Datasets tools are many of the tools that have previously existed in the Dataset Toolbox and are used to manipulate datasets.
  • Rasters and Lidar tools are used to adjust and clean up raster and lidar data.
  • Unstructured Grid tools can manipulate and adjust unstructured grids (UGrids).
Example Compare Dataset Tool in the Toolbox for SMS 13.2

In addition, there will be folders for manipulating data related to specific numeric models. For example, there is a folder with tools that work with ADCIRC data.

The Toolbox also contains a History tab. This tab keeps a record of all the tool runs used with your projects. As a result, it allows you to run the same tool again using the same settings. For example, you might use the Compare Dataset tool to compare the solution sets from two different simulations, then discover that there was an issue in one of the simulations. After you fixed the simulation and ran it again, you could use the history feature of the toolbox to run the Compare Dataset tool using the same settings as before.

The History tab also shows if a tool executed successfully or not. Furthermore, it lets you make notes on the different tool runs, allowing you to clarify why a tool run failed or what you were hoping to accomplish with a particular tool. This can facilitate collaborating with colleagues when working on the same project.

Additional tools will be added to the Toolbox in future versions of SMS. Try out the Toolbox in SMS 13.2 beta today!

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Announcing SMS 13.2 Beta

We are pleased to announce that SMS 13.2 has been released in beta. SMS 13.2 beta includes many new features to aid in your surface-water projects. Here are a few of the new features we’re excited about.

SRH-2D Improvements

SMS continues to add support for SRH-2D. SMS 13.2 has improved support for modeling HY-8 structures as links to allow for 2D flow overground.The sediment transport options have also been improved. Additional tools for SRH-2D include calibration options and report generation.

New Toolbox

A new toolbox has been added giving you more options for adjusting and manipulating data in your projects. The toolbox contains many of the tools that are in the Dataset Toolbox with the addition of several more tools. Additional tools will be added to this toolbox in future versions of SMS.

Example of the Toolbox in SMS 13.2
Display Themes

The Display themes tool allows you to save your display options settings which can be reused later or applied to other models. Specific display options and views can be saved as display themes. Furthermore, you can have multiple display themes in a project. This makes it easier to switch between different regularly used displays.

UGrid Clipping

SMS continues to improve its features for unstructured grids (UGrid). The UGrid module now has an additional option for clipping. This option can be found in the UGrid Display Options. Turning on the UGrid clipping option allows you to create a "clipping widget" that you can use to hide part of your Ugrid. Primarily this feature allows you to view cross sections of a UGrid.

Model Interface Updates

The interface for a couple models have been updated. This includes CMS-Wave and TUFLOW-FV. These interface updates make use of workflows similar to CMS-Flow and SRH-2D. Additional functionality has also been added to these models.

These are just a few of the features that are a part of SMS 13.2 beta. Try out these features and many more by downloading the SMS 13.2 Beta today!

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Having Multiple MODFLOW 6 Simulations in GMS

Have you tried including multiple MODFLOW 6 simulations in your GMS project? Having multiple MODFLOW 6 simulations allows you to run simulations for the same area. This can help with calibration, making comparisons, and troubleshooting a model. This post will cover how to keep things organized when using multiple simulations in a single project file.

After you have created a second MODFLOW 6 simulation, it is recommended that you give the simulation a name that will help you remember the purpose of that simulation. For example if you have a base simulation that you are using to create a stable starting run, it could be named something like “Base_Sim”. If you then create a second simulation that has a longer run time, naming it something like “Base_Longer_Run” might be helpful.

Furthermore, you can use the Notes feature available in the simulation properties dialog to add notes about what makes each of the simulation unique. This can be particularly helpful when sharing the project with coworkers.

In some cases you may have multiple UGrids. For example, you may want to use one UGrid that is less refined for a simulation for a base simulation and a more refined UGrid to test with a duplicate simulation. When doing this, be certain to correctly name the UGrids so that they are easy to tell apart. Also, make certain the UGrid is linked to the correct MODFLOW 6 simulation. It is usually best to create a separate simulation for each UGrid.

Often when using multiple simulations, you will want to have specific map coverages applied to specific simulations. When doing this, you can organize your coverages in the Map module using folders. Using folders can help keep straight which coverages belong with which simulation. And can also help in keeping the Project Explorer from becoming cluttered.

Example of Multiple MODFLOW 6 Simulations in GMS

In the Project Explorer, collapse any folder that you are not currently using. This will help keep the Project Explorer free of any unnecessary clutter. This is particularly helpful when you have solution data from different simulation runs. GMS will automatically place simulation solution files in their own folder in the Project Explorer under the UGrid connected to that simulation, as well as as links under the simulation. Additional folders can be added to organize solution data.

Also, when working with multiple simulations, it can be helpful to lock simulations that are not currently being worked on to reduce chances of accidentally making changes to the wrong simulation.

It should also be noted that having too many simulations in a project can cause GMS to run slowly. It is typically recommended to have fewer than seven simulations in a project.

Having multiple MODFLOW 6 simulations in your project expands your groundwater modeling options. Try out using multiple MODFLOW 6 simulations on your project in GMS today!

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Tips for Building a CE-QAUL-W2 Model

Are you building a CE-QUAL-W2 model in WMS? CE-QUAL-W2 is a 2D laterally averaged hydrodynamic and water quality model. It can model vertical variance, eutrophication, seasonal turnover, algal blooms, etc. if incoming pollutants are known. Setting up a CE-QUAL-W2 simulation involves dividing the reservoir into segments, branches, and layers and determining the geometric properties of each segment, branch, and layer.

When building a CE-QUAL-W2 model, keep the following in mind:

  • Make certain that the site you have chosen is appropriate for the CE-QUAL-W2 numeric model. It is best applied to long and narrow water bodies that have longitudinal and vertical water quality gradients. The further your site location deviates from a long and narrow water body, the less ideal it is to CE-QUAL-W2.
  • Example of smoothing an arc for a CE-QUAL-W2 model
  • When setting up branches, you may need to remove smaller branches and offshoots. This may particularly be the case if you used the TIN Boundaries to Features command. Using this command can end up including small branches and offshoots that are unnecessary for the final model. Each branch should be examined and judgment exercised on the importance of including it in the model. To remove the unnecessary branches, smooth out the bounding polygon.
  • Before smoothing out a bounding polygon, it is recommended that you duplicate the original map coverage in order to retain the original coverage data. Then use the map tools to smooth out the bounding polygon for the coverage that will be included in the model. Remove any extra coverages when you finish smoothing the bounding polygon.
  • Verify that all segments are measured and assigned correctly. This is done by double-clicking on any segment in the segment coverage and using the Polygon Segment Attributes dialog to review each of the segments. Either enter values for segments that are missing attributes or remove the segment.
  • Review branches through the Polygon Branch Attributes dialog. This is accessed by double-clicking on any branch in the branch coverage. Make certain to enter values for all branches.

Using the tips above can help assure that your CE-QUAL-W2 model executes correctly. For additional support, contact our technical support staff. Try out CE-QUAL_W2 in WMS today!

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Understanding SRH-2D Obstructions

Do you have an SRH-2D project that might benefit from using obstruction objects? The obstruction coverage in SMS allows you to add obstruction objects to your SRH-2D project. Using obstructions in some cases can be beneficial, but there are a few key ideas to keep in mind. This post will cover some of these.

Adding obstructions to an SRH-2D project involves creating a coverage assigned as an SRH-2D obstruction type coverage. On this coverage, you can draw arcs and points to act as obstruction objects. Each arc and point can be assigned obstruction attributes. Finally, the obstructional coverage can be added to the SRH-2D simulation to be used in the model run.

Example of the SRH-2D Assign Obstructions dialog

First, it is important to understand how obstructions interact with the model run. Obstruction objects on the obstruction coverage will reduce the flow of water through the model by applying a drag force. Water will not flow around the obstruction but will instead be slowed by the drag force of the obstruction. The assigned attributes on the obstruction object will determine which cell nodes on the mesh will be assigned as an obstruction. Obstructions can be used for items like bank protrusions and boulder clusters.

Second, when assigning obstruction attributes to an obstruction object, a width/diameter is specified in SMS. For point obstructions, this user-specified value is then converted by PreSRH-2D to a radius for SRH-2D. The SRH-2D model applies the radius around the point. For line obstructions, the arc definition and width are converted by PreSRH-2D to point locations that define the obstruction area. That means, for example, if you assign an arc to have an obstruction width/diameter value of 2 meters, then 1 meter on one side of the arc and 1 meter on the other side of the arc will be the obstruction area.

Third, obstruction objects can be assigned a drag coefficient, porosity, and a specific thickness. It is important to note that obstruction objects are not meant to completely impede the flow of water.

For items that completely block the flow of water, such as bridge piers or buildings, a void in the mesh should be created that models the area of blockage in most cases. Likewise, having a large number of obstruction objects in your model sometimes can cause issues with the SRH-2D model run and therefore it is recommended that obstruction objects be used judiciously.

Obstructions can be a valuable addition to your SRH-2D model. Try using obstructions with SRH-2D in SMS today!.

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Defining Hydraulic Conductivity for Specific Layers

In your groundwater model, do you need to define hydraulic conductivity for specific layers differently than other layers? Do you need to modify the hydraulic conductivity values for specific areas within a single layer? GMS provides more than one way to assign hydraulic conductivity. This capability gives you more precision with regard to how hydraulic conductivity is assigned to your groundwater model.

Using the conceptual model approach, hydraulic conductivity can be assigned to polygons on a single coverage then mapped to your model. You can also use multiple coverages, assigning the hydraulic conductivity to specific layers ranges. The workflow for this is as follows:

  1. Right-click on the coverage and select "Coverage Setup...".
  2. In the "Default Layer range" set the layer range you would like to use.
  3. Coverage setup for conductivity on a specific layer
  4. Select the coverage to make it active.
  5. Double-click on a polygon within the coverage.
  6. It will bring up the attribute table for that group of layers.
  7. Set the conductivity for the polygon.
  8. Repeat this process for each desired group of layers.

When using this workflow, take care to make certain you are setting the correct attributes to the correct layer of your grid. Naming the coverage with the layer number or layer range can help with this process. You may also want to use the notes feature to attach reminders as to how the coverage has been set up.

It should be noted that when mapping multiple coverages to your grid, GMS follows an order of priority for the coverages. If you have different conductivity values on different coverages that overlap it is recommended that you apply the coverages individually. The last coverage that you apply will overwrite any overlapping values. If you apply all the coverages at once, the conductivity values will be summed up in areas where they overlap.

Try out using multiple coverages to define hydraulic conductivity for specific layers in GMS today!

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Using the Database Import Wizard in WMS

Do you have data stored in a database that you would like to import into your WMS project? Occasionally you might find yourself with a database that needs to be imported into your WMS project. This might be a geodatabase or some other sort of database containing GIS data that WMS does not recognize natively.

To import a database, WMS uses the Import Database Wizard. The wizard is accessed through the Import From Database command in the File menu. Once the wizard has been launched, there are a few steps you need to follow.

  1. Connect to a database. Use the Connect to Database button to connect to a database located on your computer or on a network. A preview of the database will be displayed in the tables in the wizard.
  2. The Import Database Wizard
  3. Query information from a database table. You will have the option to create, copy, delete and import queries that retrieve data from the database. The query uses basic SQL statements which can be entered in the provided fields.
  4. View results of the query. The results of the database query are displayed for you to review. If the results are not what you expected, you will have the option to return to the previous step to fix the issues.
  5. Assign column type. You can select the kind of data that will be imported into WMS. The kind of data should be of the file types supported by WMS. There is also the option to set files as "no data".

After the data has been imported into your project, you can make use of the coordinate transformation tools in WMS to transform or translate the data if necessary.

If you have a database with data you would like to import into WMS, try using the Import Database Wizard in WMS today!

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Understanding the Smooth Datasets Tool in SMS

Do you have a dataset, or survey data, that has random distances between points which you would like to have a more uniform distribution? SMS contains a tool that allows you to smooth data. By using the Smooth Datasets tool you can create a new dataset that has a more even distribution.

To use the Smooth Dataset tool, do the following:

  1. Make certain you have the Scatter module containing the dataset active. If your dataset is in a different geometry, it may need to be converted to a scatter set.
  2. Use the Dataset Toolbox command in the Data menu to open the Dataset Toolbox.
  3. Select the Smooth Dataset tool under the list of tools.
  4. Enter the parameters for smoothing the dataset.
The Smooth Datasets tool in the Dataset Toolbox

When using the Smooth Dataset tool there are a few items to keep in mind:

  • There are no restrictions related to X or Y point distribution. In other words, the dataset points don’t need to align with a grid.
  • The "Element Area Change" option is only recommended when smoothing size functions for certain meshing methods (i.e. scalar paving).
  • When smoothing elevations, the "Maximum slope" method is recommended. This function works with any scalar dataset, but I will assume elevation as the dataset for this explanation.
  • When using the "Maximum slope" method, the elevation of a starting point is compared with its neighboring points (connected via triangles). The elevation of a neighboring point is adjusted if the slope between the points exceeds the specified maximum.
  • The "Anchor type" determines the starting point.
  • If "Minimum value" is selected, SMS starts at the point with the lowest elevation, and the elevations of its neighboring points are adjusted if necessary. SMS then continues to the point with the next lowest elevation.

The Smooth Dataset tool can help you resolve issues with raw data and help your model be more efficient. Try out the Smooth Dataset tool in SMS today!

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How to Export Contour Lines as Shapefiles

Have you been wanting to export the contour lines in your GMS project as a shapefile so they can be opened in a different application? GMS allows exporting contour lines as a shapefile. Shapefiles are a file format used by many different GIS software applications. This post will explain how to export contour lines as shapefiles.

GMS contains the Layer Contours → Shapefile command to help save contour lines as a shapefile. Using this command requires your project to be set up correctly. Use the Layer Contours → Shapefile command by doing the following:

  1. Make sure the contours you want to convert to a shapefile are set to Linear in the Display Options. This can be accomplished by opening Display Options and clicking on Contours. In the Contour Method in the top left make certain in the dropdown that it is set to Linear.
  2. Make sure your Grid module is active in GMS, this can be done by clicking on the grid in Project Explorer or selecting the Grid module macro. The grid should be highlighted, meaning that it is now active.
  3. Go to the Grid menu and select the Layer Contours → Shapefile command. Use the dialog that appears to save your shapefile. Be sure to place it in the correct folder and name it properly. Otherwise you might lose the file.
  4. Now open your shapefile in the appropriate GIS software. The contour lines will appear as arc lines.
The Contour Lines to Shapefile Command

If you encounter issues with the shapefile, start with checking the folder where you saved the file. Make certain that all of the necessary files for the shapefile are there, including a projection file. Another item to check is that everything you want in the shapefile is displayed correctly in the Graphics Window before you export. Use the display options to adjust the contour lines if needed. Finally, there may be some differences between how GMS displays a shapefile and how other GIS applications display the shapefile. Opening the shapefile in GMS can help you determine if this is the case.

Try out converting contour lines to shapefiles in GMS today!

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