SMS:Z Magnification

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Occasionally an object may be very long and wide with respect to its overall depth (z dimension). In such cases, it is possible to exaggerate the z scale so that the variation in the z value is more apparent by changing the magnification factor from the default value of 1.0. Z Magnification options can be found in the General Tab under General Display Options.

Justification for Z magnification

In most situations simulated in SMS, the data range in the horizontal direction is not similar to the data range in the vertical direction. For example, when simulating a river reach, the river may cover miles (or kilometers) along the length of the river, but in the z-direction, the change in elevation will only be in the tens to hundreds of feet (meters). In an opposite situation, when working with a coastal circulation model in geographic coordinates, the horizontal variation of the data may only be a few degrees, while the vertical change in depth can be thousands of meters. When displaying data in plan view, this inconsistency of data ranges does not cause a problem. However, when attempting to view data in an oblique view (from an angle in three dimensions), the first case of a long river ends up looking like a flat plane while the second case is just a mass of vertical bumps.

To allow for intuitive display of the data in three dimensions SMS allows the specification of a Z magnification term. This scale factor exaggerates or reduces the relief of the data in the simulation.

Auto Z magnification

SMS also includes the option to compute a Z magnification term automatically. This option is turned on by default. This means that every time SMS frames the data in a display, the Z magnification term is computed to ensure that the scaled span of the vertical data is just under 10% of the horizontal data. This prevents the data from becoming too flat (unless it is totally flat) and prevents the relief from becoming to drastic or dramatic.

Since the Z magnification value is computed when SMS frames the data, modifications to the data that change the Z range are not incorporated into the magnification value until a frame command is encountered. This may result in difficulties rotating a scene in three dimensions. Operations like generating new elevation data for a mesh by interpolation from a raster or scatter set may cause this to occur.

Disable the auto Z magnification feature by unchecking the toggle next to the Auto z-mag. When the toggle is unchecked, an edit field appears which allows specifying a Z magnification value. The value is set to the previously computed auto Z magnification.