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The TABS-MD (Multi-Dimensional) Numerical Modeling System was one of the first widely used collection of programs designed for studying multi-dimensional hydrodynamics in rivers, reservoirs, bays and estuaries. The hydrodynamic engine for the system is the RMA2 engine. RMA2 and RMA4 were written by Resource Management Associates, Lafayette, California, and modified by WES. SED2D was written jointly by Resource Management Associates and WES.



The pre-processor for the TABS software programs. This utility converts ASCII geometry into binary format and does data checking along the way. SMS will launch this utility as needed before running other components of the system. See GFGEN for more information.


A one-dimensional/two-dimensional numerical model for depth-averaged flow and water levels. RMA2 is a two dimensional depth averaged finite element hydrodynamic numerical model. It computes water surface elevations and horizontal velocity components for subcritical, free-surface flow in two dimensional flow fields. RMA2 computes a finite element solution of the Reynolds form of the Navier-Stokes equations for turbulent flows. Friction is calculated with the Manning’s or Chezy equation, and eddy viscosity coefficients are used to define turbulence characteristics. Both steady and unsteady state (dynamic) problems can be analyzed.

It should be noted that the commercially available version of the model does not include all functionality included in the ERDC documentation.

See RMA2 for more information.


A one-dimensional/two-dimensional numerical model for depth-averaged transport. This program uses a provided hydrodynamic solution (either node by node or in RMA2 format) to compute transport of a constituent in solution. It is assumed that the depth concentration distribution is uniform. While model documentation claims up to six constituents can be considered simultaneously, practical application has shown the only application of multiple constituents to be DO/BOD. Either conservative or non-conservative diffusion is computed. See RMA4 for more information.


Formerly STUDH, a two-dimensional numerical model for depth-averaged transport of cohesive or a representative grain size of noncohesive sediments and their deposition, erosion, and formation of bed deposits. The interface for this model has been removed from version SMS 10.0. Boundary condition files can still be constructed/edited in text editors and SMS can still read solution data.


A one-dimensional/two-dimensional/three-dimensional hydrodynamic numerical model. Not available for public use at this time.

Using the Model / Practical Notes

Using Older Versions of TABS

The TABS (GFGEN, RMA2, and RMA4) model executables are public domain models, but their source code and distribution are controlled by the US Army Corps of Engineers. When USACE compiled these models in the past, an expiration date was built in to the executables. The latest expiration date was November 2020. Versions of SMS that use these older executables will not run successfully.

With the release of SMS 13.1, newer TABS executables were added that do not have an expiration date.

When the latest models were released, there was a change to how these models receive information from the command line. There are a few options for resolving this issue:

  1. Use SMS 13.1 or later. The issue has been addressed in 13.1.6.
  2. If using a version of SMS prior to SMS 13.1, download the latest version of SMS to obtain the TABS model executables. Then run TABS interactively or use a custom batch file as described below.

Interactive Mode

Running the TABS model interactively requires exporting the TABS files from SMS then using the DOS prompt to run TABS outside of SMS.

When running GFGEN/RMA2 from a DOS prompt, type "?" after starting the programs to see a list of keyword commands. Then type in the individual file names as indicated.

Using a Batch File

Below is an example of creating a batch file using the St Mary tutorial.

GFGEN batch file example for the St Mary tutorial project "".

GEOMETRY_INP stmary_ready.geo
GEOMETRY_FPL stmary_ready.otl
GEOMETRY_BIN stmary_ready.bin

RMA2 batch file example for the St Mary tutorial project "".

R2_BC         stmary_ready.bc
R2_FRL        stmary_ready.ot2
GEOMETRY_BIN  stmary_ready.bin
R2_SOL        stmary_ready.sol

The batch files for the St Mary tutorial project would then look like the following:

  • For "gfgen.bat":
"C:\program files\sms 13.1 64-bit\mesa\models\TABS\gfgenv456.exe" < ""
  • For "rma2.bat"
"C:\program files\sms 13.1 64-bit\mesa\models\TABS\rma2v458.exe" < ""

Related Links

External Links

  • CHL TABS Numerical Modeling website [1]
  • CHL RMA2 Frequently Asked Questions [2]