I am a staff engineer at Brooker Engineering, a multi-disciplinary civil engineering firm that provides engineering services throughout the New York Metropolitan area and New Jersey. I have been here for 3 years and have done a lot of floodplain analysis using HEC‑RAS.
The Army Corps HEC‑RAS software is not that user friendly with its multitude of windows and its file system with one project file and multiple geometry files and plan files. And, if the cross section geometry data sets are not previously prepared or if you need to make changes to the cross section geometry, it is a very laborious process to get the data into HEC‑RAS. You need to move everything into Microsoft Excel to make your edits and changes, and then move everything back into HEC‑RAS. In addition, if you make one mistake in the process, then you’ve lost that data set and it is “game over”—you’ll have to start over.
For example, a lot of the challenges I face are with HEC‑RAS floodplain projects where we already have a set of cross sections developed, and I receive updated topography and need to update the cross sections or need to “code in” proposed conditions. Incorporating changes into geometry becomes a tedious, laborious, and time-consuming process. I have to manually measure the horizontal distances on the cross sections, and then manually input the data. All of that makes it a very long process from start to finish.
Whereas with GeoHECRAS, I can do all of this work in a single mouse click. I can load my updated topography into GeoHECRAS and have the Extract Geometry command automatically update the cross sections I want to revise. It saves me hours of manual work. GeoHECRAS makes HEC‑RAS modeling a much easier and streamlined process, saving me at least 75% of my time on HEC‑RAS projects. For example, if I want to insert an additional cross section, I just draw a polyline showing where to place the cross section and I am done. I can move a cross section and the software will update the geometry and flow lengths. I do not have to be hesitant if I am adding or removing cross sections—the software just handles it. The software is very open and flexible, allowing me to look at the analysis results differently and not just from the viewpoint of “oh… that means more coding for me.” That is a huge benefit.
I would definitely recommend GeoHECRAS to other engineers that do HEC‑RAS modeling studies.
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