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lucy

SMS vs ArcGIS

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Hi there

 

I am currently using ArcGIS as my interface for TUFLOW (without spatial analyst) but I am wondering how this would compare with using SMS? I have never used SMS and don't think we have a license for it.

 

Can anyone highlight the main advantages in using SMS? I have heard it is a more streamlined interface and I am wondering what else it could offer. I have seen the animations on the website, is this something only available with SMS? 

 

Many thanks

 

 

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Lucy,

 

There is a free 14 day trial version of SMS you could try here ... http://www.aquaveo.com/software/sms-surface-water-modeling-system-introduction

 

I tried it and found that some of my breaklines didn't seem to "stick" (it might have been an error in the way I was doing things). I'm also still waiting for registration on the SMS forum, which indicates that support might not be as prompt as you'd like.

 

As far as post-processing is concerned, SMS does step through timesteps and it outputs animations. According to the TUFLOW blurb, ArcGIS is not as good in this respect, but I'd like to know more.

 

Kind regards,

Martin

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Hi Both,

 

We have not used SMS to create TUFLOW models; we currently use MapInfo and Vertical Mapper to do this.

 

To be honest you are not really comparing like for like. ArcGIS and MapInfo are very good to create your TUFLOW model and to look at fixed time results like your final max results. Whereas SMS, we feel, is better when stepping through time steps of your model outputs and how different data  can be represented e.g. Mass balance outputs, Manning grids, velocity vectors etc.

 

We find using velocity vectors useful when understanding flows across floodplains and interaction between 1d and 2d break lines.

 

One of the main tools we use from SMS is the creation of an AVI animation of the flood the progressing. We find this one of the most useful features as it helps to explain what is happening on the ground to non technical people.

 

You may find it useful to look QGIS (works with shp files and is free) and the Crayfish plug which provides some of the animation tools that SMS has.

 

Hope that helps,

 

regards

 

Fil

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Hello All,

 

I am the technical support manager at Aquaveo, the company that develops SMS. Our goal with SMS is to create a complete, user-friendly solution for pre- and post-processing for TUFLOW. As Martin mentioned, you can download and test a fully functioning trial version from our website: http://www.aquaveo.com/downloads?tab=2#TabbedPanels

 

We provide telephone and email technical support to current license holders and to users evaluating our software. We strive to respond to all technical support inquiries within one business day. In addition, there are a number of tutorials available on our website that are helpful for new users of SMS: http://aquaveo.com/software/sms-learning-tutorials

 

Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions or would like more information.

 

Cheers,

Tom Moreland

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Hi Martin,

 

Regarding the issue with breaklines, please contact us and we'd be happy to troubleshoot the problem. http://aquaveo.com/technical-support

 

Regarding the support forum, we manually approve all new accounts to block spammers. Simply send us your account name and we will approve the account on the forum.

 

I tried it and found that some of my breaklines didn't seem to "stick" (it might have been an error in the way I was doing things). I'm also still waiting for registration on the SMS forum, which indicates that support might not be as prompt as you'd like.

 

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Hi there

 

I am currently using ArcGIS as my interface for TUFLOW (without spatial analyst) but I am wondering how this would compare with using SMS? I have never used SMS and don't think we have a license for it.

 

Can anyone highlight the main advantages in using SMS? I have heard it is a more streamlined interface and I am wondering what else it could offer. I have seen the animations on the website, is this something only available with SMS? 

 

Many thanks

Hi Lucy,

I have been using SMS interface and have developed several TUFLOW model in past few years. I also attended a TUFLOW training by WBM where they taught using ArcGIS interface. So, basically I have used both SMS and ArcGIS.

While it is personal preference as well as your familiarity with the tools, here are few reasons why I think SMS stands out:

1. Full interface:

The SMS interface for TUFLOW is pretty robust with complete set of tools streamlined both for pre and post processing the TUFLOW models. It has several built in tools for web services for data collection as well. Almost all the TUFLOW features are supported in the current versions of SMS and is constantly updated as WBM adds features to TUFLOW.

2. Fully Automated

While compared to ArcGIS, I think this is the biggest advantage. The SMS interface greatly simplifies the TUFLOW model building process. The reason being all the layers and connection of such layers with the control files are automatically written out in the background.

So, basically, all you are worried about is setting the geometry properly and SMS takes care of defining links, adding cards/commands in the control files.  

In ArcGIS interface, you will need to define the attributes in each layer and you will have to write necessary cards in the control files to associate these layers into the simulation. Once you get pretty familiar with how TUFLOW links control files and the geometry layers, you may find this process not too complex but for beginners it is complicated.

3. Very strong post processing tools

As Martin has mentioned, SMS has pretty good post processing tools for transient data. You can toggle through the time steps and see how the datasets are changing over time as well as over the model domain.

SMS lets you export the data in various commonly used formats, creates animation of the raster datasets (to demonstrate temporal and spatial variation), exports data to CAD, shapes, .kmz a few to mention

There is also an observation coverage which allows you to create observation profiles, generate time series plots, compute flux etc on solution and input datasets through/at locations defined by the user

4. Scenario management

Another advantage on using SMS is being able to create several scenarios. You can re-use various layers, materials, grids etc and create several scenarios. There is pretty good scenario management tools within SMS where in ArcGIS, things start getting complicated as soon as you have more than one simulation. There is greater risk of intermixing of layers amongst simulations.

5. Batch processing

SMS allows you to batch run several simulations.

6. Data calculator

Data Calculator in SMS is a powerful tool that allows you to compare results from different scenarios.

7. Other tools

SMS interface automates a lot of processes such as cutting cross sections, auto generating CN connections, auto generating water level lines etc.

If any feature is not supported, there are ways to read in external commands and external control files.

I agree that there is some learning curve to get familiar with the tools but as Tom mentioned there are free tutorials, videos and pretty good customer support team available to navigate you as needed.

 

Best Regards

Murari Paudel

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To put in my tuppence-ha'penny, it really does come down a lot to personal preference! Murari puts in some good cases for using SMS, but I thought I'd put in some pro's for the other side...

 

I would say that scenario handling from the text files is very robust once you are familiar with how the text files work; as with anything it's going to take getting used to when first starting.

 

Using a bespoke GIS to handle your GIS stuff means you've got all the functionality of data processing from the GIS to assist in determining where or what features to include in your model, and when it comes to preparing images for reporting you're layout options will be more fully featured (though to ballance that you may not get snazzy 3D views of your DTM and results, depending upon your GIS...).

 

For more complex models and sets of models, getting hands-on with your GIS input files and text files can open up the possibility of human error, but can also mean you've a much more firm grasp of what is and is not going into any particular scenario, which layers have what options applied and a confidence that you're using the layers you want to; having to actually go and reference a file means you're thinking about the file you're going to reference and how it wants to be handled, and you're less likely to bring in some other file by mistake and not notice amongst all those layers.

 

Working with the text files does lead to the option of scripting automated tasks, which can have tremendous productivity benefits on some projects (and none whatsoever on other projects!). Batching up multiple simulations to run one after the other, or even accross a number of cores is very doable and is discussed somewhere else on this forum (though admitedly it's not just a function built into your software). Similarly, you can process outputs using scripts to convert results from not just one run, but from 30 at a time, or to extract point outputs from your saved results (similar to the observation points in SMS). You can even process all your timesteps and put them onto maps and string those maps together into an animation all using nice scriptable functions (I can go from a set of model results to an animation in a few minutes by running a single script (which took me a while to put together mind)), BUT (and you'll notice that is a BIG 'but') there aren't any nice built-in tools to do the sort of stuff I've just listed; it'll take some practice at scripting and data handling and using tools from other folk. I would respectfully suggest you can do everything SMS does and a whole heap more using other tools and skills, BUT it won't all come in once nice package. You can still do that stuff even if you are working with SMS of course (it just won't be part of that nice neat package :) ).

 

To summarise, both ways of working will ultimately give the same models, but I suspect SMS is going to suit folk with straigh forward modelling projects better and for more complex/involved projects you'll do better messing with a GIS and text files!

 

PHA

 

PS. You really don't have to be doing any of the stuff I talked about above to enjoy working with text files though; panic ye not if you read that and thought "Uhh?!"... :)

 

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I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments 

 

I really appreciate all the points raised, it has brought up some good things I can investigate for both options!

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