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SMS layout


  • The project explorer shows data currently loaded in project
  • Menu bar depends upon the active module and model
  • Edit window show x, y, z, scalar, and vector values
  • Edit window values can be edited in some circumstances
  • The status window on the bottom of the graphics window shows coordinates and selection information
  • Help information is displayed at the bottom of the SMS screen
  • Several toolbars are used in SMS. The dynamic tools change based upon the current module.

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Module Toolbar


  • Data is divided into modules based upon the data type
  • There is always one active module
  • The menus and toolbars are based upon the active module
  • The current module may be selected in module bar or by selecting an object in the Project Explorer

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Mesh module example

Mesh Module

  • Used to create, edit, and visualize mesh data
  • Also referred to as unstructured grids or finite element meshes
  • Meshes defined by nodes and elements
  • Several element types are supported

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Cartesian grid example

Cartesian Grid Module

  • Used to create, edit, and visualize rectilinear grids
  • Datasets can have values at cells, corners, and midsides
  • Can use cell-centered or mesh-centered grids

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Scatter set example

Scatter Module

  • Used to create, edit, and visualize triangulated irregular networks
  • DEMs can be read in and converted to TINs
  • Filter scatter sets to eliminate redundant data
  • Datasets can be interpolated to other modules (meshes, grids, etc)

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GIS data in SMS

GIS Module

  • Open and visualize GIS data
  • Supports ESRI and MapInfo formats
  • Uses Mapobjects for ESRI files if available to use ArcGIS visualization options
  • Open and visualize raster data
  • GIS data can be converted to feature data (map module)
  • Convert raster to TIN (scatter set)
  • Interpolate data from raster to TINs /2D mesh/2D grid

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Map Module/Conceptual Models

Map Module Example
  • Create and edit GIS like data
  • Used to create conceptual models as well as data for other purposes
  • Conceptual model is a geometry (mesh/grid) independent representation of the numeric model domain and/or boundary conditions
  • Conceptual models can be converted to model geometry and boundary conditions
  • Conceptual model makes it easier to create, edit, and alter models

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PTM particle trace

Particle Module

  • Visualize particle/path data
  • Supports PTM model which computes particle positions through time based upon hydrodynamics and wave effects

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  • SMS is a graphical interface that supports many numeric models
  • The models were developed by government or private entities
  • Hydrodynamic models compute water surface elevations and velocities (ADCIRC, SRH-2D, TUFLOW, etc.)
  • Wave models compute wave characteristics (BOUSS2D, CGWAVE, etc.)
  • GenCade is a shoreline model that predicts how the coastline will move based upon long term wave information
  • PTM tracks particle positions through time based upon hydrodynamics and wave effects

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Visualization Tools

3D view of color filled contours


  • Visualize scalar datasets
  • Linear, color filled or both at the same time
  • Variable level of transparency
  • Full control of ranges and colors
  • Precision control for labels and legends

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Vectors display


  • Visualize vector datasets as arrows
  • Constant size or vary by magnitude
  • Show just a range of magnitudes
  • Color by magnitude

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A plot showing a cross section view of a river channel


  • 2D plots to visualize results and compare to measured values
  • Profile plots view scalar data along an arc
  • Time series plots view scalar, vector, or flux (flow rate) data at a point or across an arc
  • Several kinds of plots can be used to compare model results with measured data

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Wave functional surface

Functional Surfaces

  • Surface with elevation based upon scalar dataset values
  • Very useful for wave models and models with large change in water surface elevation
  • Elevations can be exaggerated to better visualize dataset variations
  • Surfaces can have a solid color or use color filled contours
  • Transparency can be used to allow see through surfaces

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Flow trace animation


  • Several types of AVI animations (film loops) can be generated by SMS
  • Transient data animation shows model changes through time (contours, vectors, etc.)
  • Flow trace uses vector data to generate flow paths through the geometry
  • Drogue plots use user specified starting locations and show how the particles would flow through a vector field
  • Multiple view animations show the data while transitioning between different views
  • Plot window animations show plots changing through time

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Data Tools

SMS Data Calculator

Data Calculator

  • Performs mathematical calculations on scalar datasets
  • Calculations can include any number of scalar datasets and user supplied numbers
  • Useful for computing derived values such as Froude numbers
  • Useful for comparing scalar datasets

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Example of a Transform Data dialog

Data Transform

  • Data can be scaled, translated, rotated
  • Depths/elevations can be converted back and forth

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  • Associate a projection with data
  • Ability to work with global, local, and no projection
  • Convert data from one projection to another
  • Projections include Geographic, UTM, and State Plane coordinate systems
  • Reproject data on the fly align multiple projections

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Text file read in through import wizard

Import Wizard

  • Read columnar ASCII data into SMS
  • Columns can be fixed width or delimited by specific characters
  • Data can be read as mesh, scatter, or map data

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Miscellaneous Tools

A color aerial photo under a semi-transparent topographic map

Image Support

  • Multiple images can be read/viewed at the same time (tiled or overlay)
  • Independent transparency specified for each image
  • Images can be loaded from web services as either static or dynamic images
  • Images can be draped over mesh or scatter data
  • Many image formats are supported including JPG, TIFF, PNG, MrSID, and ECW
  • Local images can be geo-referenced to view images along with other data
  • Image pyramids can be created for very large images

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Using CAD data in SMS

CAD Support

  • AutoCAD DXF, DWG, and DGN files can be read into SMS
  • Supports up to AutoCAD version 2019
  • CAD data is displayed in 3D
  • CAD data can be converted to map or scatter data

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Model data visualized in Google Earth

Export Options

  • Graphics window can be copied to the clipboard
  • Current view can be exported in KML format for visualization in Google Earth

2D Mesh Polygon Properties dialog

Meshing Options

  • 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)

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Virtual Earth Map Locator

Import from Web

  • Easy to use navigation tool that allows choosing a model location
  • Image data is downloaded from USGS TerraServer
  • Image options include aerial photos, topographic charts, and urban (higher resolution color)

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Zonal classification

Zonal Classification

  • Generate a map coverage identifying areas that meet specific requirements
  • Requirements can be based upon dataset values such as less than a specific value or based upon materials in an area property coverage

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