GeoHECRAS Update: USGS StreamStats and more

GeoHECRAS Update -Hambone Carry the One

Apr 27, 2016 Release

It’s been a busy week and we are pleased to announce another major update of GeoHECRAS. As requested by our customers, we have added several advanced features. New features like the USGS StreamStats command allows users to click on a stream location in the map view and the software will delineate the watershed basin boundary, compute the basin characteristics, and compute the peak flow for different flood events.

We have added even more improvements to the cross section cutting workflow, like the new Reverse Cross Section Geometry command which will flip the horizontal stationing for a selection of cross sections, Apply Channel Template Cut command used to revise the channel cross section geometry using a specified cross section template for selected cross sections, and a Hydraulic Calculator which allows the user to choose an unknown variable and the software will then automatically compute the solution from the known parameters. These commands will help you speed up your HEC-RAS engineering work.

Let’s see what’s in this latest update…

What’s New

USGS StreamStats

The USGS StreamStats command allows the user to click on a stream location in the Map View, and the software will delineate the watershed basin boundary, compute the basin characteristics, and provide estimates for flow based upon site-specific USGS regression equations. The software will generate a shapefile containing the determined watershed boundary and basin characteristics, as well as a PDF report for the selected site.
USGS StreamStats Watershed Delineation & Peak Flow Computation

Hydraulic Calculator

For the defined HEC-RAS cross section, the Cross Section Data dialog box has a panel containing a built-in Hydraulic Calculator. This calculator allows the user to choose an unknown variable and the software will then automatically compute the solution after the user enters the known parameters. For example, for a given water surface elevation and energy (or bed) slope, the software will compute the discharge rate. It accounts for Manning’s roughness subareas, but does not account for ineffective flow areas, conveyance obstructions, levees, or lids.
HEC-RAS Hydraulic Calculator

Apply Channel Template Cut

The Apply Channel Template Cut command is used to revise the channel cross section geometry (between the bank stations only) using a specified cross section template for all or selected river cross sections. Typically this command is used to revise the channel geometry where there is insufficient terrain data available to adequately define the channel geometry. Running this command causes the software to apply the defined template to create the channel geometry. The defined channel cross section template is sized horizontally to intersect with the defined left and right bank stations.

HEC-RAS Apply Channel Template Cut

Note that the green line shown above represents the constructed channel cross section that is applied to the cross section using this command. The black line represents the original terrain data.

Steady Flow Calibration

To assist in calibrating a HEC-RAS steady flow model, the semi-automated Steady Flow Calibration tool is provided. The user can enter observed water surface elevations along the river reach and the software will interpolate the corresponding water surface elevation at the defined cross sections. The software will then run the HEC-RAS analysis in “batch mode” allowing the user to quickly adjust the Manning’s roughness values along the river reach to have the computed water surface elevations match the observed water surface elevations.
HEC-RAS Model Calibration

Duplicate Current Scenario

The Duplicate Current Scenario command makes an identical copy of the current scenario (plan). The user can optionally make a copy of the current geometry and steady flow data. This is helpful when the user needs to create different alternative designs for comparison—like when comparing different roadway crossing designs.
HEC-RAS Duplicate Current Plan (Scenario)

Map Data Layer Panel GIS Object Display

The items displayed in the Map Data Layer panel match the color of the element on the Map View. This makes it much easier for the user to differentiate what GIS layers correspond to what is shown on the Map View.
HEC-RAS Map Data Layer Panel GIS Object Display

Reverse Cross Section Geometry

The Reverse Cross Section Geometry command is used to flip the horizontal stationing for a cross section or a selection of cross sections. Sometimes existing HEC-RAS (and HEC-2) models are encountered where the cross section geometry was specified with the point of reference looking in an upstream direction (compared to the conventional downstream direction). This command corrects this issue.

Roadway Crossing Geometry Adjustment

The Bridge & Culvert Data dialog box Geometry Adjustment panel allows the user to adjust the horizontal stationing of the upstream or downstream face bounding cross sections so that a standard reference station, such as the center of the river (thalweg) can be set to a specific station value (e.g., 0 or 1000). In this way, everything else can be referenced off of that reference station. In that way, the high chord (roadway) geometry, low chord geometry, pier locations, and culvert stationing can be more easily referenced with a common reference station. In addition, the high and/or low chord elevations can be adjusted to match an elevation datum.
HEC-RAS Roadway Crossing Geometry Adjustment

Cross Section Fixed Sediment Elevation

The Fixed Sediment Elevations command allows the user to fill-in selected cross sections with sediment. The sediment is assumed to be at a constant elevation in a cross section. The sediment fill is also shown in the cross section plot.
HEC-RAS Cross Section Fixed Sediment Elevation

Cross Section Pilot Channels

In order to stabilize a HEC-RAS unsteady flow model, the Pilot Channels command can be used to place a thin pilot channel along the river reach to help the model to converge to a stable solution. A pilot channel acts as a cushion of water during the computations, greatly speeding up the unsteady flow computations. The user can graphically adjust the pilot channel in the river profile view, selecting the region to apply the pilot channel cut along. This is helpful when the channel bottom is highly irregular along the river reach, by creating a uniform pilot channel slope along the river reach which tends to dampen out the effects of the channel bottom irregularities. The pilot channel is also shown in the cross section plot.
HEC-RAS Cross Section Pilot Channels

Flood Elevation Grid

While generating the flood map, the software provides an option to generate a water surface elevation grid based upon the computed water surface elevation. This depth grid can be color contoured by depth as well as exported in common elevation grid formats.

Flood Mapping for Large Terrain Models

Computing the flood map for large terrain models has been greatly improved. The software will slice up the terrain model into smaller chunks so that an accurate edge of water can be computed. In this way, the software is able to manage the level of detail based upon the terrain model cell size and keep performance and speed optimized around the computational and memory constraints of the user’s computer.

Generate Contours

The Generate Contours command allows contour lines to be generated for elevation grids. The user can specify major and minor contour line spacing, line weigh, line colors, and more. Elevation contours help the user in deciding where to place cross sections on the Map View to most effectively capture the flow area as the flow travels downstream.
HEC-RAS Generate Contours

Extract Storage Area Volume Curve

The Extract Storage Area Volume Curve command allows the software to determine the corresponding elevation-area-volume storage curve for each storage areas. The software will display the minimum and maximum elevations for the ground terrain underlying the storage area polygon. The user can define the precision to be used when extracting the storage area volume curve.
HEC-RAS Extract Storage Area Volume Curve

Progress Bar during Long Command Processing

To improve the user experience, a progress bar is now shown to help inform the user how long a particular process will take. It displays the progress of the command along with status messages. We have implemented this feature for some commands, such as loading a CAD file and generating a flood map, and will add this feature to other commands as our software development efforts continue.
Progress Bar during Long Command Processing

Download Online Elevation DEMs

The software will download elevation data to your computer for the area that you are working in. For the United States, available elevation grid resolution is 10 m (elevation grid point every 10 meters). For areas outside of the United States, the elevation grid resolution is 30 m. The software will automatically merge online elevation data with higher resolution elevation data loaded from the local computer. Both US elevation units (ft) and metric elevation units (m) are provided.
Download Online Elevation DEMs

Automatic Determination of Lateral Structure ID

When assigning or drawing a lateral structure on the Map View, the software will automatically determine the lateral structure river station based upon the adjacent river reach and existing cross sections. The user can override the suggested river station.

Unsupported HEC-RAS Data Warnings

While GeoHECRAS supports all major capabilities of HEC-RAS, there are some miscellaneous capabilities that it does not yet support. During import of HEC-RAS models, the software will report any unsupported HEC-RAS data that is encountered.
Unsupported HEC-RAS Data Warnings

Editing of River Names and Reach Names

The user can rename a river and/or reach by double clicking on the reach name on the Map View. No need to display corresponding data dialog box.
Editing of HEC-RAS River Names and Reach Names

Picking Cross Section Stations from Map View

There are occasions when the user will need to pick a cross section’s horizontal station from the Map View, like when assigning multiple roughness subareas to a cross section. The user can click on the […] pick button in the Horizontal Station column header in the Cross Section Geometry data table and the Cross Section Data dialog box will temporarily disappear. The horizontal station points will be displayed on top of the current cross section. The user can then click on a horizontal station point and will then be returned to the dialog box with the selected horizontal station highlighted in the Cross Section Geometry data table. In addition, the corresponding ground point will also be highlighted on the cross section plot.

3D Model Adjustment

The user can adjust the vertical and horizontal placement of 3D structures, such as SketchUp models. The user can choose to clamp the structure to the ground, or raise or lower the structure base elevation as necessary. In addition, some 3D structures might not be precisely located. The user can drag and rotate the structure to precisely locate where it should reside. In addition, the user can lock the 3D model layer to prevent the 3D structure from accidentally being moved.

Cloud Licensing Support

A new cloud licensing option is available, simplifying and improving the IT administrative experience by eliminating the need for managing a local area network license server. This helps reduce internal IT support costs while increasing flexibility, scalability anytime/anywhere accessibility.

Check-Out / Check-In Licensing Support

For both floating network licenses and cloud licenses, the user can check out a local workstation license for up to 7 days. After the check-out time period has expired and the license is not yet checked back in, the license is automatically checked back into the floating network or cloud license pool. This allows the user to check-out a local workstation license to a laptop computer and work on the software outside of the office.

What’s Updated

Comprehensive CRS Support

A more complete and comprehensive coordinate reference system (CRS) support has been implemented. Many local and regional CRS projections have been added. In addition, the user interaction in assigning CRS projections has been improved.
Comprehensive CRS Support

Improved Display of CRS Projection Details

For a selected coordinate reference system (CRS), the units are clearly shown in meters, international feet, and US survey feet.

Reading CRS from AutoCAD Civil 3D Drawings

The software will now determine the coordinate reference system (CRS) from loaded AutoCAD Civil 3D drawings. This speeds up the process of loading CAD drawings into the software by not having to manually assign the CRS to the loaded CAD drawing.

Local CRS Support

When working with HEC-RAS models and project data that are not defined relative to any particular map coordinate reference system (CRS), but rather to a local CRS, the software now provides a Local CRS in the listing of available Custom CRSs. This allows the associated data to be pulled together on the same location within the Map View.

Additional Base Maps

Additional base maps and an improved USGS topographic map have been added.

Assign Manning’s Roughness using CAD Polygons

The Assign Manning’s Data command has been extended to support AutoCAD and MicroStation drawing files containing polygons. This allows the user to draw polygons on top of an orthophoto within AutoCAD or MicroStation, representing different roughness subareas. A default left overbank, channel, and right overbank roughness can be defined. The polygon’s elevation should be assigned equal to the associated Manning’s roughness. It is important that the drawing’s decimal precision be set high enough to allow enough significant digits in assigning the polygon elevations to match that of the associated Manning’s roughness.

Additional Node Name Support

The software will now display the node names on the Map View underneath the river station IDs. In addition, the user can perform table editing of the node names using the Edit River Stations & Node Names command.

HEC-RAS Project Description Memo Field Size Increased

The HEC-RAS Project Description memo field, contained within the Info backstage page, is increased in size to allow the user to see more content and to store larger project descriptions.
HEC-RAS Project Description Memo Field

Compute Steady-Current Scenario

The Compute Steady – Current Scenario dialog box now allows the user to select specific profiles to analyze, rather than analyzing all of the defined profiles. For example, the user may have the 2-Year, 5-Year, 10-Year, 25-Year, 50-Year, and 100-Year profiles defined. This new implementation allows the user to select from the list of profiles which profile(s) to analyze.
HEC-RAS Compute Steady-Current Scenario dialog

Resizable Data Dialog Boxes

All data dialog boxes (i.e., Cross Section Data, Bridge & Culvert Data, Inline Structure Data, Lateral Structure Data, Storage Area Data, and Storage Area Connection Data) are horizontally resizable. The user can resize the dialog box by grabbing and dragging the left or right side of the dialog box to make the dialog box narrower or wider.

Scour Input Data Saving

Previously, when the user switched between projects, any defined scour data within the HEC-RAS Scour Calculator was lost. In addition, after the user closed the project, the scour data was lost. The software now remembers this data throughout the life of the project.

Flood Maps for Geographic CRS Elevation Grids

The software can now generate flood map results for elevation grids that are defined in a geographic coordinate reference system (CRS) projection.

Generate Contours with Assigned Z Elevation

When generating contours using the Generate Contours command, the resultant 3D polyline shapefile has assigned Z elevation values in addition to an elevation attribute.

Georeference Cross Sections Command Improvements

Additional functionality has been added to the Georeference Cross Sections command. The software can now re-extract the ground terrain after georeferencing the cross section as well as recompute the cross section flow lengths.
HEC-RAS Georeference Cross Sections

Assign Ineffective Flow Areas Command Improvements

Various assignment improvements have been made to the Assign Ineffective Flow Areas command.

Assign Conveyance Obstructions Command Improvements

Various assignment improvements have been made to the Assign Conveyance Obstructions command.

FEMA Floodplain Encroachments Command Improvements

The Floodplain Encroachments command has been improved, making the dialog box more compact and also displaying the volume between cross sections for each profile in order to estimate the loss of storage volume due to the defined floodplain encroachments.
HEC-RAS FEMA Floodplain Encroachments

Assign Flow Lengths Command at Junctions

Using the Assign Flow Lengths command, the software will now compute the flow lengths at river reach junctions.

HEC-RAS Project Archive Improvements

When archiving a HEC-RAS project as a ZIP file, if the HEC-RAS analysis has been performed and the user has requested that the analysis results be stored in the archive ZIP file, the software will automatically include the HEC-RAS ASCII output report in the archive.

Improved Compression of Archived Projects

Three levels of ZIP compression are provided when archiving projects: Fast, Normal, and Maximum. Choosing “Maximum” will create the smallest ZIP file, but may take a longer time. In addition, the software will remember what ZIP compression level was last selected when creating an archive.

Increased Base Map Resolution for Exported HEC-RAS Models

When exporting the HEC-RAS model to AutoCAD, MicroStation or to the US Army Corps of Engineers software, the user can now specify the resolution to be used for the exported base map. This exported base map is stored as a pyramid image file with multiple resolutions, depending upon the zoom factor, using the JPEG2000 file format.
HEC-RAS Base Map

Installation Support for Foreign Language Computers

The software now supports installation of the software on foreign language computers.

Download Update without Installing

The software update can now be downloaded without requiring the installation to happen. This is useful when the IT staff wants to download a single update and then roll the update out across the local area network.

Optimized Loading of AutoCAD and MicroStation Drawings

Loading of AutoCAD and MicroStation drawing files have been significantly sped up.

Sorting of CAD Layers by Name and Visibility Status

The user can now sort the CAD layers within the CAD Properties dialog box based upon the layer name and visibility status. This makes it easier to see which layers are turned on or off.

CAD Drawing XREFs

The software now supports AutoCAD and MicroStation drawing files that contain external references to other drawing files. Included in the CAD Properties dialog box is a panel that allows the user to see the various externally referenced drawings and their associated details.

AutoCAD and MicroStation Line Style Support

The software now supports AutoCAD and MicroStation line styles.

AutoCAD and MicroStation Corrupt Drawing File Handling

The software will now detect corrupted AutoCAD and MicroStation drawing files and provide instructions on how to repair the drawing files if it is unable to load the files.

Defined Tab Order in Dialog Box Fields

The user can navigate between data input fields within the dialog boxes using Tab and Shift Tab keypresses.

Improved Georeferencing of Imported Images and PDFs

The user can unlock the layer containing an imported aerial image or PDF and can then manually drag and rotate the image or PDF to precisely locate where it should reside.

Improved Color Shading of Elevation Grids

The color shading of elevation grids has been greatly improved using a new hill shading algorithm in order for the user to clearly see the elevation relief contained in the terrain.
HEC-RAS Color Hill Shading

Improved Merge DEMs Command

The Merge DEMs command has been enhanced to support more complex DEM merging operations. The user can specify the merge order when working with multiple DEMs, as well as inform the software to select the highest elevation for the overlap area.

Rubber-banding while Digitizing in Cross Section Plots

While measuring distances and drawing polylines in the dialog box cross section plots, the software will now show a rubber-banding line so that it is easier for the user to see what is being measured or created.

Extended Conflate Command Support

The Conflate command has been added to roadway crossings, inline structures, and lateral structures. This allows the user to quickly assign survey elevation points to a structure. This command allows survey point data to be merged into HEC-RAS structural element. This command works with XYZ point files, AutoCAD drawings, and GIS point shapefiles. The user can define a buffer distance for the structural element and the software will automatically snap point data to the element. Snapping of survey data can be either perpendicular to the element or parallel to the river reach polyline. The user can restrict merging of survey data to channel only, left or right overbanks, both overbanks, or the entire structure cross section.

Uniform Scale for Roadway Crossing Plot

When plotting the upstream and downstream face cross sections at a roadway crossing, the software provides an option to use the same horizontal and vertical scale. This is useful when trying to compare the relative size of elements at both sides of the roadway crossing.

More Seamless Transition from and to 3D View

When transitioning between the 2D and 3D views, the software does a better job of maintaining a consistent field of view of the project data.

Copy Data Explorer Contents

The software allows the user to copy the contents of the Data Explorer to the clipboard. This is useful when the user wants to place the contents into a MS Word document or Excel spreadsheet.

What’s Fixed

Not Defining HEC-RAS Project Name

When exporting out the HEC-RAS model, the project name was not correctly defined. This is fixed.

Incorrect Water Surface for Cross Section with Lids and Levees

For cross sections containing both levees and lids, the software incorrectly plotted the computed water surface elevation in the cross section plot of the Cross Section Data dialog box. This issue has been fixed.

Corrected Dam Breach Plot

The left and right slope of the dam breach was not correctly shown on the inline structure plot. This is fixed.

Updating Software will maintain Network License Location

Updating the software will now maintain the network license location (IP address) when updating the software.

Conveyance Obstructions Not Showing on Roadway Crossing Plot

The software will now display conveyance obstructions on the roadway crossing plot.

Loss of Lateral Weir Alignment after Changing Structure Width

Changing the structure width of a lateral weir caused the lateral weir alignment to be lost. This has been fixed.

Tailwater Connection for Lateral Structures

The software would lose the defined lateral structure tailwater connection when the user moved to the next upstream or downstream lateral structure. This has been fixed.

Importing Cross Section Survey Geometry Data

There were some issues with importing of cross section survey geometry data. This has been fixed.

Multi-Opening Roadway Crossings

In the Bridge & Culvert Data dialog box, we did not display the correct reference to the opening ID number. This has been fixed.

Manning’s Roughness for Multiple Culvert Groups

The software will now allow the user to define a different Manning’s roughness value for each culvert group.

Not Supporting AutoCAD 2D Polylines with Arcs

Previously the software was not supporting AutoCAD 2D polylines with defined arcs (i.e., bulges) that had been developed outside of AutoCAD (i.e., from a 3rd party CAD software). This is now fixed.

Not Archiving Scour Model Input Data

The software will now include the scour model data with the archived project ZIP file.

Numerous Bug Fixes and Crashes

Many small bugs and crashes have been fixed.

 

 

About the Author Chris Maeder

Chris Maeder

Chris is an experienced civil engineering and software technology leader, with over 30 years industry experience. With proven expertise in global software development, he has built engineering teams that adapt quickly, focus on what’s important and, most importantly, deliver. He is a licensed professional civil engineer with extensive experience in water resource engineering. He has performed and supervised engineering projects in urban stormwater drainage, transportation and roadway drainage, storm sewer design, detention pond design, stormwater quality, green infrastructure, watershed management planning, wastewater sewers, water distribution networks, pump stations, FEMA flood studies, bridge and culvert design, bridge scour and armoring, dam failure analysis, seepage and groundwater modeling, and environmental permits.