SMS Tips

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Mesh Generation Tips


SMS (developed by Aquaveo) is a software program which is used to develop the flexible mesh used by TUFLOW FV. The software is also a useful tool for viewing model results.

SMS Promo.png


The TUFLOW SMS Interface:

  • Creates a TUFLOW FV directory structure
  • Converts the SMS .2dm file to TUFLOW FV format inputs.
  • Creates a template TUFLOW FV control file (*.fvc).
  • Runs TUFLOW FV.

Required Files can be downloaded from the TUFLOW website:

Note: The SMS Interface is not required to create a model and run TUFLOW FV. The interface has been developed to fast track the preliminary steps in developing a model. Equivilent inputs can be defined by following the steps:

  • Creating model geometry inputs (SMS .2dm file).
  • Manually defining the model directory structure.
  • Manually creating the TUFLOW FV control file (*.fvc).
  • Running the developed model.


Download the TUFLOW FV SMS Interface files from the TUFLOW website:

The following files are included in the download:

  • Convert_and_run.bat
  • Mesh_to_fv.exe
  • TUFLOW_FV.2dm

The TUFLOW FV SMS Interface does not need to be installed, however it does need to be configured. The convert_and_run.bat file is a batch file that will be initialised by SMS. This needs to be configured to your machine, to do this, edit the Convert_and_run.bat file in a text editor. An example Convert_and_run.bat file is show in below.

SMS Interface Batchfile.jpg

The 8th line defines the location of the TUFLOW FV executable, the highlighted text needs to be replaced with the location of the TUFLOW FV executable on your machine.

Tip: In Windows 7 if you explore to the path of the executable, hold shift down and then right click on the executable “Copy As Path” should be an option. This copies the pathname to the clipboard and can be pasted into the text editor.

Similarly line 7 needs to be edited to define the location of ‘mesh_to_FV.exe’ file.

Save the updated Convert_and_run.bat file

In SMS, the interface needs to be configured to utilise the batch file that we just modified. To do this, in SMS select:


Navigate to the file locations tab and then in the Model Executables under the Generic entry , select “Browse”, navigate to the correct directory, select “All Files” from the files of type dropbox and then and select the convert_and_run.bat.

SMS Interface Preferences.jpg

SMS Interface File.jpg

Loading the Interface

The steps involved in loading the interface and creating a model are:

  • Load the TUFLOW FV definition file:
    • Before starting the creation of the model mesh, the TUFLOW FV definition needs to be loaded into SMS, this is done by opening the TUFLOW_FV.2dm provided with the download.
    • Once the TUFLOW FV definition file is loaded a TUFLOW FV menu item is visible (With no model mesh created most of the options are un-selectable (grey))

SMS Interface 2dm Definition File.jpg

SMS Interface Menu.jpg

  • Create the model mesh.
  • Set the model boundaries and parameters.
  • Select Run TUFLOW FV (in the menu choose TUFLOW FV\Run TUFLOW FV).

An example outlining how to use the TUFLOW FV SMS Interface to create and run a TUFLOW FV model is provided here:

Changing SMS Time Settings (Hours to Isodate)

During calibration modelling it is often convenient to run simulations using isodate format. Isodate format uses date/time specifications to define the model simulation start and end time (instead of hours)

Example TUFLOW Syntax:

time format == ISODATE
start time ==  26/03/2010 16:30:00    
end time ==   01/04/2010 23:00:00

SMS has to be configured to correctly display isodate format results. By default, time settings are set to hours in SMS (not correctly defining the preceding date input). SMS can be configured to display results in isodate format.

Select: Edit>>Time Settings…

Time Settings 000.png

Set ‘Zero Time’ to 01/01/1990 12:00:00AM

Set ‘Display as’ to Absolute Date/Time

Time Settings.png

Note: For advice how to correctly configure boundary condition inputs using isodate format, refer to: Boundary Condition Input Format

TUFLOW FV Mesh Performance

Mesh performance can be reviewed by opening a timstep summary output file created by TUFLOW FV in SMS.

Open the external cfl timestep file (<simulation name>_ext_cfl_dt.csv) in SMS. The file is located in the TUFLOWFV\input\log\ directory:

Tute2 063.png

When prompted for a format to open the file, select “use import wizard”.

Tute2 064.png

In the file import options select “Delimited” and select comma as the delimiter.

Tute2 065.png

At the next prompt, turn off the triangulate data, and using the dropboxes, set the ctrd_x data to be mapped as X, the ctrd_Y to be mapped as Y and the dt_min (minimum timestep) to be mapped as Z. This is shown in the dialogue below:

Tute2 066.png

Select “Finish” to open the data. There will be a new scatter dataset created, in the display options set the points to be visible, and select “Use contour colour scheme”.

Tute2 067.png

In the contour options, set the contour range to highlight the cells with small timesteps:

Tute2 068.png

The timesteps should now appear as a series of points, as per the image below. This can be used to identify the cells that are limiting the timestep of the model. In this case the limiting cells are in the deep water around the bends in the model. To increase the speed of the model we would need to relax (coarsen) the mesh definition in these areas.

Tute2 069.png

How To Create An Animation

To create an animation in SMS, firstly select the desired (temporal data not maximums), set the display options (for vectors and scalars). Chose an appropriate zoom and window extent.
TIP: to ensure that the colouring and vector magnitudes are appropriate for the entire simulation, it is often beneficial to chose the maximum results dataset when setting.

Once you have chosen appropriate display settings ensure that you are in the mesh module, select Data >> Film Loop...'.

SMS FilmLoop Item.png
Specify a output file name and location in the Film Loop Files section.

Select the Transient Data Animation in the film loop type (default) and select Next.

SMS FilmLoop 1.png
In the next dialogue the time controls can be altered, the default it to create an animation with one output frame per output over the entire event. This can be restricted, for example if nothing exciting happens for the first two hours, you may wish to omit this from the animation. Select next.

SMS FilmLoop 2.png
At the next dialogue , we can review and modify our display options, as the changes can;t be seen until the animation starts, it is much easier to do this prior to starting the animation. A clock can also be added.
The output quality and frames per second can be modified here. Once happy with these options select Finish to begin the animation creation.

SMS FilmLoop 3.png

SMS FilmLoop ClockOptions.png

After a few seconds (or minutes) depending on the size of the results files, an animation should appear. This animation has an .avi extension and should be playable in most media players. Below is a screen grab of the animation in Windows Media Player.

SMS Animation in Media Player.png

Data Calculations

SMS can be used for TUFLOW FV data calculations.

Select: Data >> Data Calculator

SMS Calc 000.png

This will open a data the ‘Dataset Toolbox’ shown below

  1. Select the timestep for the desired calculation (or tick the ‘Use all time steps check box’
  2. Double click the dataset you would like to use for the calculation
  3. These steps will automatically populate syntax within the ‘Calculator’ equation editor. Select the desired mathematic operators as desire and also repeat Steps 1 and 2 to enter inputs for additional timesteps or datasets to complete the calculation equation.
  4. Enter a desired output name
  5. Click ‘Compute’ (repeat steps 1 through 4 for additional calculations)
  6. Click ‘Done’

A new mesh dataset will be created. The dataset will use the name specified as the ‘output name’ in Step 4 above.

SMS Calc 001.png

Extracting Point Output

Wiki entry pending

Refer to TUFLOW FV Forum post for details:

SMS Learning Centre

Aquaveo provide detailed support resources for SMS. These include:

SMS Tutorials.png