User:Jcreer/SMS 13.0 Changes

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Changes to be made to each of the following articles when SMS 13.0 is in beta release.

Edit menu

Select by:

Uses the feature objects in the current coverage so select objects according to the current selection tool to select all objects of the tool type within a specified tolerance of arcs and nodes or objects inside of polygons in the current coverage. For example, if the current module is the mesh module and the selection tool is the Select mesh nodes tool, this command brings up a Selection tolerance dialog which allows the user to specify a tolerance (distance in the projection display horizontal units). Clicking Ok in this dialog triggers the selection of all mesh nodes within the specified distance of any stand alone arc or node in the active coverage or mesh nodes that are inside any polygon in the active coverage.

Time Settings

See Time Settings. Additional options.

  • Time Step Window – This section contains options for adjusting how values are displayed in the Time Step Window.
    • Determination of available times – Determines which time steps will be available for display in the Time Step Window.
      • "All available times (any module)"
      • "Active datasets (current module)"
    • Dataset time step rounding
      • "Interpolate to exact time"
      • "Nearest time step"


ADDED to SMS 12.3 On the general tab:

  • Transient Contours – The Default Range Options button launches the default Default Transient Contour Range dialog. This dialog allows the user to determine how SMS computes the default range for contour options. The factory preference is to use union of all time steps in the current dataset. However, some models include spin up or ramp times during which the numerical results are not in a typical range. For example, a model which supports dry initial conditions will simulate a surge or flood wave as the water moves through the domain initially. This rapidly varied front could result in much larger than typical velocities. This option provides an method for instructing SMS to skip these atypical or unreasonable values from impacting the default ranges of the contours computed. The option for default contour range is display in the Contour Options dialog box.

Default Transient Contour Range

Options include:

  • Skip n time steps – This option will skip the first n time steps. If less than n time steps exist in the current dataset, the last time step is used. Setting this value to a large integer would cause SMS to always use the last time step range as the default range.
  • Skip n hrs – This option will skip the first n hours of time steps. If less than n hours of data exist in the current dataset, the last time step is used. Setting this value to a large floating point number would cause SMS to always use the last time step range as the default range.
  • Use current time step – This option instructs SMS to always use the range of the current time step as the default range.


In the Defaults tab:

  • Remove the Default TUFLOW Executable section when SMS 13.0 releases.

Measure tool

Measure Tool

The Measure Tool Measure Tool.svg is used to measure distances interactively. When this tool is active, and the user clicks in the graphics window, clicking in the graphics window, a line appears from the click location to the cursor location. Subsequent clicks add points to a polyline.

At the bottom of the screen in the status message, SMS diplays the following:

  • The total length of the measure tool polyline
  • The length of the last segment in the polyline
  • The Angle of change or deviation between the last two segments in the polyline. If the last segment is a continuation from the previous segment, this deviation is 0.0. If the last segment reverses the direction of the previous segment this deviation is 180.0. One application of this information is to determine the angle of skew between a geometric feature such as a channel and a bridge or embankment crossing the channel. (This feature was added to SMS in version 13.0)
  • The average slope of the last segment based on the active module and the existence of elevation/depth data in that module. For example, if the active module is the Map module, no elevation data is tracked so this information is not computed/displayed. Also, if the cursor leaves the active geometry such as the TIN/Mesh/Ugrid, this information is not computed/displayed. This slope can be used to compute normal depth of flow using the Manning's equation. (This feature was added to SMS in version 13.0)

The distance total length is also displayed in at the bottom of the Graphics window in the Coordinates Bar.

The units used to report the measured distance is specified on the Toolbars tab of the Preferences dialog—either the project unit as set in the Display Projections dialog or user-specified units.

General Display Options

General Display Options

Display Options dialog showing the General tab

  • Drawing Options
    • Z magnification – Exaggerates the z scale so that the variation in the z value is more apparent.
    • Background color – Set the background color of the Graphics Window.
    • Erase behind labels – Causes SMS to fill the region behind labels such as the contour legend or annotation text with a background colored rectangle. This can prevent the label from being hidden in the rest of the image on the Graphics Window.
  • Triad – SMS can display a coordinate triad at the lower left of the screen to display the orientation of the data in the display window. The size and color of this triad can be specified.
  • Texture mapping – Currently SMS supports images displayed in the background and texture maps draped over TINS, grids, and meshes.
  • Drawing Grid – SMS can display a grid (in plan view) behind all data on the graphics window.
    • Grid Spacing – Specifies the increment between grid points. Remember that the grid can be used for both snapping and display, and not all grid lines need to be displayed.
    • Snap to Grid – If this option is on, newly created points, nodes and vertices are moved to the nearest point on the grid.
    • Display grid lines every n spaces – Specifies how many grid lines to between displayed grid lines. The line style is also selected.
    • Display grid points every m spaces – Enables the display of a point at selected intervals along with the symbol attributes for the points.
  • Projection Overlay – Controls the display of coordinate system zones in the Graphics Window in the background of the display.
    • Enable– Turns on the coordinate system preview option. If the option is enabled, SMS will display the coordinate system zones from the selected group of zones in the background of the Graphics Window. If the display projection is set to Local, this feature can not be enabled. The zones that overlap the current range of the display will be visible.
    • Configure – Brings up the Coordinate Zone Preview Settings dialog where the display options for the coordinate system preview is set.

Coordinate Zone Preview Settings

The Coordinate Zone Preview Settings dialog

The Coordinate Zone Preview Settings dialog has the following options:

  • Coordinate system to preview – Choose one of the following:
    • State Plane – The U.S. State Plane system using one of the following geodetic datum:
      • NAD27
      • NAD83
    • UTM – The Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate system.
  • Define Extents – By default SMS will display any coordinate zone from the selected system that overlaps the Graphics Window view. If the Define Extents option is on, specify a range of latitude and longitudes coordinates in the table below. Only coordinate zones that lie in that subrange will be displayed.
  • Display Zone Name – Gives the option to display the zone label name along with the coordinate system boundary.
  • Line Color Selector – Chooses the color to display the boundaries of the visible coordinate zones using the color picker or clicking on the box to being up the Select Color dialog.

Contant Paving Density polygon attribute

Meshing Options At Glance]

2D Mesh Polygon Properties dialog


  • Generating a quality finite element mesh is central to using many SMS models
  • Conceptual models make generating meshes easier
  • Polygons can use a variety of meshing options to generate triangular or quadrilateral elements
  • Polygons can be assigned bathymetry and material information that will be transferred with the mesh
  • Constant paving density and Scalar paving density generates elements with sizes based upon a size dataset allowing for smooth transitions and a large range of element sizes and is particularly useful for coastal and wave models.
    • For the constant option, the element target size is specified for each polygon.
    • For the spatially varying (scalar paving) option, the target element size is based upon a size dataset on a TIN allowing for smooth transitions and a large range of element sizes.
  • Datasets for scalar paving density can be user defined or generated using the Data Calculator, the Dataset Toolbox, or LTEA (linear truncation error analysis) (ADCIRC)

At a glance - Update the 5th bullet to be: "Constant paving density" and "Scalar paving density" generates elements to match a specified size. For the constant option, the element target size is specified for each polygon. For the spatially varying (scalar paving) option, the target element size is based upon a size dataset on a TIN allowing for smooth transitions and a large range of element sizes.

Using a Conceptual Model

Using a Conceptual Model and 2D Mesh Polygon Properties


2D Mesh Elements Menu

See 2D Mesh Elements Menu

  • Add note to Rectangular Patch and Triangular Patch commands that these commands are obsolete in SMS 13.0.


13.0 Paving

The paving method uses an advancing front technique to fill the polygon with elements. Based on the vertex distribution on the boundaries, equilateral triangles are created on the interior to define a smaller interior polygon. Overlapping regions are removed and the process is repeated until the region is filled. Interior nodal locations are relaxed to create better quality elements.

Both the Paving method and the Scalar Paving Density can be selected in the 2D Mesh Polygon Properties dialog. The dialog is accessed by right-clicking on the a polygon and selecting the Attributes command.

Scalar Paving Density

Scalar paving density utilizes the same approach as paving with the added component of a size dataset. A size dataset defines the desired spacing of nodes in a spatial fashion. A scattered dataset provides the geometric basis for the size dataset, and a dataset on the scatter set provides the values for the size dataset.

Prior to version 13.0 of SMS, the mesh generation process included a redistribution the vertices on the boundaries of the polygon to match the underlying size dataset. This potentially results in a new coverage with the redistribution. As part of version 13.0 of SMS, this feature was separated into its own function for flexibility. The redistribution of vertices on boundary arcs to match a size function was moved to the feature arc redistribution command. If the target size specified by the size function is significantly different from the distribution of the edges, poor mesh quality can result.

Constant Paving Density

Constant paving density utilizes the same approach as paving with the added component of a size and bias specified for each polygon. The paving algorithm generates elements that match the distribution of the vertices on the boundary, then transition to the target size as quickly as the bias term allows.

If the polygon boundary define features for which high resolution is desired, such as stream centerlines, the polygon attribute could be set to a larger size to allow for efficient mesh generation.

Conversely if the polygon boundary represents features far away from the area of interest such as a far flood plane limit, the polygon attribute could be set to a smaller size. For smooth transition of element size, the recommended value for the bias should be less than 0.3.

Redistribute vertices on an arc based on a size function

Redistribute Vertices


In versions of SMS prior to 13.0, vertices on an arc would be redistributed during a scalar paving operation to match the target size function if possible. This operation could be useful outside of the mesh generation process, and may not always be desired during mesh generation, so it was separted into a separate operation.

Vertices along an arc can be redistributed using a size function dataset. This options is selected in the Redistribute Vertices dialog. Once the "Size Function" option is set, a dataset must be assigned. Clicking the Options button will bring up dialogs that allow assigning the size function.

Prune Arc

To add to SMS:Arcs

Arc before pruning and arc after pruning

If two non-neighboring vertices are within a certain width of each other in such a way that a concave section of the arc is formed, then the vertices between the two vertices can be removed. This pruning smooths out the arc without in the concave area without changing the distribution of vertices along the rest of the arc.

Example of the Prune Arcs dialog

To prune an arc, right-click on the selected arc and select the Prune Arc(s) command. The Prune Arcs dialog has the following options:

  • Feature width type – Select the method for pruning. Can be "Constant" or "Spatially varying".
    • "Constant" &ndashs; Uses a constant width is used for the entire length of the arc for determining possible concave areas.
      • Width – The constant value used for pruning the arc.
    • "Spatially varying" – Usees a size function to allow for different widths along the length of the arc.
      • Select dataset – This table will show a tree of datasets available to use with the "Spatially varying" type. The domain of the dataset should cover the entirety of all arcs. The dataset will be linearly interpolated to each point of the arc to be used as a width to determine possible pruning. If the dataset is temporally varying, then the active time step is used.
      • Truncate – If "Truncate" is checked, then the dataset values used for each point are truncated to be with Min and Max values. Min and Max are defaulted to the minimum and maximum values of the dataset at the active time step.
  • Side to be pruned – Can be set to either "Left" or "Right". These values represent which side of the arc will be potentially pruned. "Left" and "Right" are relative to the direction of the arc.
Side to be pruned based on arc direction

Scatter Menu

Added to SMS:Scatter_Project_Explorer_Items#Scatter_Set_Item_Right-Click_Menus, see also SMS:UGrid_Module#UGrid_Interpolation.

    • Scatter → Raster – Brings up an Interpolate to Raster dialog. This dialog allows setting options for converting the scatter set to raster data.
Interpolate to Raster dialog

Merging UGrids

Two UGrids can be merged by using Ctrl while selecting them in the Project Explorer, then right-clicking on one of the selected UGrids and selecting Merge UGrids to bring up the Merge UGrids dialog. Only two UGrids can be merged at a time.

There are five scenarios when merging UGrids:

  • Overlapping Points – The points on the UGrid selected as the primary UGrid are the points that are preserved, along with all of their attributes. Therefore, any attributes attached to secondary UGrid points will not be passed through to those points in the merged UGrid.
  • Disjointed Cells – As there are no overlapping elements, all elements are preserved.
  • Matching Boundary Cells – The boundary points on the UGrid selected as the Primary UGrid are the boundary points that are preserved, along with all of their attributes. Therefore, any attributes attached to the secondary UGrid boundary points will not be passed through to those points in the merged UGrid.
  • Overlapping Cells – The overlapping and matching points and cells on the primary UGrid are preserved, while those on the secondary UGrid are not. In addition, gaps between the primary and secondary are connected. Depending on the needs of the simulation being run, some cleanup of the merged UGrid may be required.
  • Free Points – The overlapping and matching points and cells on the primary UGrid are preserved, while those on the secondary UGrid are not. Any free points from the primary UGrid are preserved, while those from the secondary UGrid are not. Any secondary cells covered by primary points are also not preserved.

TUFLOW Model Parameters Misc Tab

See SMS:TUFLOW_Model_Parameters#Misc. (New options, reorganized)

  • TUFLOW Executable – This option determines which executable to use when running the simulation. The options are double and single precision for both 32 and 64bit. By default, it is the option chosen in the startup preferences.
  • Run Mode
    • Licensed mode – This option should be used to run TUFLOW with a license.
    • Demo mode – This option can be used when there is no TUFLOW license. TUFLOW will run with any simulation, but with limitations (total number of active cells, total CPU run time, etc. are limited). Demo files can be downloaded from the TUFLOW website.
    • Tutorial mode – This open can also be used when there is no TUFLOW license. This mode will only work with the tutorial models found on the TUFLOW website.
  • Solution Scheme
    • Classic – This uses the TUFLOW classic solver (implicit finite difference) using CPU hardware on a single core.
    • HPC-CPU – This uses the TUFLOW HPC solver (explicit finite volume) using multiple CPU cores
    • HPC-GPU – This uses the TUFLOW HPC solver and also requires the GPU module add-on for high speed execution.
  • Write Check Files – TUFLOW creates a number of check files that can be used to verify model inputs. TUFLOW will run faster if not writing check files.
  • GIS check/output format – Include options for "Mif file" and "Shapefile" outputs.
  • Check inside grid error setting – By default TUFLOW will generate an error of entities exist outside the grid domain. If wanting to use data that extends beyond the grid, change this to warning or off.
  • Read External File – The SMS interface does not support every option available in TUFLOW. Unsupported options can be used by creating a TUFLOW command file (see the TUFLOW documentation) and specifying the file name here.
  • Write Z pts as Binary Files (*.xf)
  • Use Mass Balance Corrector – This option sets whether or not TUFLOW should use the mass balance corrector, which carries out an additional iteration of the mass balance equation every half time step. This can result in significant reductions in mass error for problematic models, particularly those with steep and/or very shallow flow.
  • Use ASCII or binary file for grid elevations – An ESRI ASCII or binary grid can be used for the grid elevations. TUFLOW will interpolate the elevations to the grid cells.

Cross Section Summary Table

Options added to Summary_Table_Options.

  • Advanced Calculations – Some other helpful calculations are available in the Advanced Calculations section.
    • Flow – To calculate the flow over the cross sections, it is necessary to specify a velocity dataset (vector) and a depth dataset (scalar). SMS will then calculate the flow over the cross section at the specified time step.
    • Width – To calculate the width of the cross sections, it is necessary to specify an elevation dataset and a water surface elevation dataset. SMS then compares the water surface elevation with the cross section elevation to determine the width.
    • Area – Calculates the total area of each cross section.
    • Normal Velocity – Determines the normal velocity for each cross section.
    • Yh – Calculates the hydraulic depths of each cross section.

Feature Stamping

"The Process"

  • Remove part of sentence in first paragraph talking about point stamping since it supposedly went away: "... it can also be based around a single point to create a mound or pit..."
  • Remove part of sentence in Step 1 of "The Process" section about point stamping since it supposedly went away: "...(or focal point)..."
  • In 13.0 the right click menu says "Stamping Properties" instead of just "Properties" as designed in 12.3
  • Remove parts of sentence in paragraph 1 of "Define Feature Attributes" section that talks about point features and attributes.


See SMS:Plot_Window

Saving a Plot

Plots generated in a project can be saved as plot file. The plot file contains the parameters used to generate the plot for the specific project. To save a plot file:

  1. Generate a plot using the plot wizard.
  2. Before closing the plot, use the File | Save As menu command.
  3. In the Save As dialog, select "Plot File (*.plt)" as the File of Type.

If multiple plots have been generated, all of the plots will be saved in the plot file.

Plot files are imported using the File | Open command. When importing a plot file, it should be imported into the same or similar project where it was generated. SMS will look for a mesh and datasets that were specified for the plot display. If a mesh doesn't exist, SMS will look for another mesh that contains an appropriately named dataset. If the dataset doesn't exist in the folder named in the plot file, SMS will look for another dataset with a matching name in a different folder. If an observation coverage was used to generate the plot, then an observation coverage must also exist in the project when importing the plot file.

Currently, specified time steps are not saved.

Bridge Scour


See GIS Conversion and Editing. Will need to create a new SMS specific article. See User:Jcreer/SMS:GIS Conversion and Editing

Flood Depths

This command will create a mapped depth raster. This requires an elevation raster and a water surface elevation dataset. Clicking the command from an elevation raster will bring up a Select Geometry and Dataset dialog where the geometry containing the water surface elevation dataset can be selected. Once the water surface elevation dataset has been specified, the new raster can be saved.


Starting in SMS version 13.0, monitor lines are no longer set on the Boundary Conditions coverage. Because of this change, when importing SRH-2D projects create in earlier versions of SMS several items will happen:

  • SMS will separate the monitoring lines from other arcs in the boundary conditions coverage. The monitoring lines will be placed in their own Monitor coverage.
  • The former Boundary Condition coverage will be made into two coverages, one for the monitor lines and the other for the existing boundary conditions. The names of these coverages will have either "Boundary Conditions" or "Monitor" attached to designate which coverage contains the boundary condition arcs and which contains the monitor lines.
  • If a Monitor Points coverage existed in the project, this coverage will be changed to a Monitor coverage and the coverage name will have "Monitor" attached.
  • If the imported project had both monitor points and monitor lines, their will now be a Monitor coverage for each Monitor Points coverage and a Monitor coverage for each Boundary Condition coverage that contained monitor lines.
  • By default, the Monitor coverage with the monitor lines will be included in any simulations.
  • The monitor points and monitor lines from the previous project will need to be merged into one Monitor coverage and linked to the simulation in order for both points and lines to be included in the simulation run.
  • The default boundary condition for arcs on an SRH-2D boundary condition coverage is now the "Wall" type. The boundary condition arcs should be reviewed to ensure no parameters were lost in the conversion.


ADCIRC articles changed. Switch out articles at release.


STWAVE articles changed. Switch out articles at release.


see SMS:HEC-RAS. Switch out the following and remove the HEC-RAS RASGEO File example.

HEC-RAS Simulation

Example of a HEC-RAS simulation in the Project Explorer

Starting in SMS 12.2, HEC-RAS uses a simulation process. SMS can run multiple HEC-RAS simulations using the same components. To create a new simulation, right-click in the Project Explorer and select New Simulation | HEC-RAS. Components can then be linked to simulations by dragging the components under the simulation or by right-clicking on the component item and using the Link To submenu.

Components for the HEC-RAS simulation include the following:

  • 2D Mesh

HEC-RAS Simulation Menu

Right-clicking on a HEC-RAS simulation provides a menu with the standard simulation menu commands and the following commands specific to HEC-RAS:

  • Model Check – Launches the model checker to look for problems with the simulation setup.
  • Export HEC-RAS – Exports the mesh geometry so it can be imported into HEC-RAS.


A HEC-RAS simulation in SMS will generate a number of files for use in the HEC-RAS program. The following files are generated:

  • *.g01 – HEC-RAS geometry file.
  • *.g01.hdf
  • *.prj – The HEC-RAS projection file. For post-processsing, open this file in the HEC-RAS software.
  • *_projection.prj – The projection/coordinate system used by the project in SMS.

HEC-RAS Troubleshooting

Starting in SMS 12.2, HEC-RAS uses the dynamic model interface. If HEC-RAS was purchased through Aquaveo, the DMI file and HEC-RAS library was included in the installation and should be available for use when starting SMS.

Currently, HEC-RAS will encounter a memory error when exporting a mesh that contains more than 500,000 elements.

HEC-RAS does not support voids in a mesh. Be certain to review the mesh for voids, holes, flat elements, and other irregularities before exporting.

Simulation Run Queue

Example of the Simulation Run Queue dialog

The Simulation Run Queue is used to manage multiple simulations. Once a simulation is started, the Simulation Run Queue appears. The dialog can also be reached by right-clicking on an simulation item in the Project Explorer and selecting the Simulation Run Queue command.

The number of simulations allowed in the run queue is determined by the following option:

  • Maximum Number of Concurrent Processes Allowed – Determines how many simulation runs can be active in SMS at the same time.

The run queue will show all simulations that are either currently running or have not yet been removed from the run queue. Each simulation will be listed in the order the simulation runs were started. Each simulation can be expanded to show what happened during the model run. If the model has a pre-processor and/or a post-processor, these will be displayed separately from the main model run. Process bars display how much of the process have been completed.

The following actions can be taken for each simulation:

  • Load – Loads the solution files into SMS from a completed simulation run.
  • Abort – Ends a simulation run before it has completed.
  • Remove – Deletes a completed or aborted simulation from the run queue.
  • Plot Options – Opens the Plot Options dialog. If the Monitoring Data option is turned on, the display of the plot line color, width, and style can be adjusted in this dialog.

Monitoring Data

The Simulation Run Queue contains an option for Monitoring Data. Turning on this option activates the tabs underneath for the selected simulation. The tabs are:

  • Command Line – Shows the command line entries for the selected process. Will report errors encountered during the simulation run.
  • Residual Plot – Shows the residual plot for the selected simulation.
  • Monitor Point Plot – If monitor points are included in the simulation, this will show a plot for the point location once the simulation has included the point in the simulation run.
  • Monitor Line Plot – If monitor lines are included in the simulation, this will show a plot for the line location once the simulation has included the line in the simulation run.