Visual MODFLOW for Windows 95/NT

Integrated Modeling Environment for MODFLOW, MODPATH & MT3D


The Proven Standard for Professional Groundwater Flow
and Contaminant Transport Modeling


Visual MODFLOW is the proven standard software package for professional, three-dimensional groundwater flow, pathline and contaminant transport modeling. This seamless package combines the official USGS MODFLOW and MODPATH and the latest versions of MT3D with the most powerful and intuitive graphical interface available. It allows the user to graphically assign all necessary flow and transport parameters, run the simulation using the Win32 MODFLOW Suite (MODFLOW, MODPATH and MT3D are included), calibrate the model using calibration statistics and graphical results, and visualize full-color, high-resolution results in plan view or full-screen cross sections. For professional applications in 3-D groundwater flow and contaminant transport modeling, Visual MODFLOW is the only software package you will ever need!

Special Features

Standard Features

MODFLOW Packages supported by and included with Visual MODFLOW

Professional Applications of Visual MODFLOW

Visual MODFLOW was first released in August 1994 and is currently being used by over 3,000 consultants, regulators and educators world-wide including the USGS and the U.S. EPA. In addition, Visual MODFLOW is the featured model in many continuing education courses around the world.

About the Visual MODFLOW Interface

The Visual MODFLOW interface has been specifically designed to increase modeling productivity and decrease the complexities typically associated with building three-dimensional groundwater flow and contaminant transport models. The interface is divided into three separate modules, the Input Module, the Run Module, and the Output Module. When you open or create a file, you will be able to seamlessly switch between these modules to build or modify the model input parameters, run the simulations, and display results (in plan view or full-screen cross section).

The Input Module

The Input Module allows the user to graphically assign all the necessary input parameters for building a three-dimensional groundwater flow and contaminant transport model using the latest version of the USGS MODFLOW, MODPATH and MT3D. The input menus represent the basic 'building blocks' of a numerical model and are arranged in a logical order to guide the user through the normal sequence of steps required to design a 3-D groundwater flow and contaminant transport model.

The Run Module

The Run Module allows the user to modify the various numerical settings for MODFLOW, MODPATH and MT3D (e.g., selecting initial head estimates, setting solver parameters, activating the re-wetting package, specifying the output controls, etc.). Each of these menu selections (as shown below) have default settings which will effectively run most simulations. The model simulations are calculated by the Win32 MODFLOW Suite which contains MODFLOW, MODPATH, Zone Budget and MT3D compiled to run as Windows 32-bit applications.

The Output Module

The Output Module allows the user to display all the modeling and calibration results for MODFLOW, MODPATH and MT3D. The output menus allow you to select, customize and overlay the various display options for displaying and interpreting the modeling results. All modeling results can be printed to any printer or plotter supported by Windows, or can be exported to ASCII file formats or DXF files.
Each module of the Visual MODFLOW interface has the same basic screen layout as shown in the figure below.

The Display Control Buttons

The display control buttons have the same function for each module and are located in the same location for each module. These buttons are as follows:

View Row - Select a row to display as a cross section
View Column - Select a column to display as a cross section
View Layer - Select a layer to view in plan view
Goto - Advance to a specified row, column or layer

The ability to quickly and easily switch between plan view and cross-section display of the model is a powerful feature of Visual MODFLOW that allows the user to gain a better perspective on the 3-D aspects of the model input parameters and simulation results. Simply select the desired display button and then click on the row, column or layer you would like to view.

The Navigator Cube

The Navigator Cube provides a 3-D schematic representation of the model grid and layers. This navigator cube provides quick visual references of your active position within the model domain. This is particularly useful when you are dealing with multi-layer models or if you are viewing a model in cross section. In addition, the active mouse location (X,Y,Z model coordinates and I,J, K grid coordinates) are interactively displayed below the navigator cube as you move the mouse around the screen.

Shortcut Buttons

Each menu screen of the Visual MODFLOW interface has a set of shortcut buttons located along the bottom of the screen. These buttons allow the user to quickly access some of the more common graphical functions such as zooming in or zooming out, panning the display in any direction, adding or removing overlay displays, saving the existing data file, and returning to the Main Menu. F3 - Save Save the existing file.
F4 - Map Import and overlay multiple .DXF site maps.
F5 - Zoom In Zoom in to display a selected model area.
F6 - Zoom Out Zoom out to full model display.
F7 - Pan Pan the display of the model in any direction.
F8 - Vertical Exag. Change the vertical exaggeration of the model cross section.
F9 - Overlay Add display overlays or change the overlay display order.
F10 - Main Menu Return to the Main Menu.

Visual MODFLOW Model Design Features - The Input Module

The process of building the input data file for a groundwater flow and/or transport model is often the most time-intensive and tedious task associated with groundwater modeling projects. The logical structure and layout of the Visual MODFLOW interface eliminates these difficulties by guiding the user through the sequence of steps necessary to build a groundwater flow and contaminant transport model. Once you start using Visual MODFLOW you will soon see that the ability to easily switch between plan view and cross-sectional view is an invaluable feature. It provides you with a complete perspective on any 3-D model with complex stratigraphy, variable layer thickness, and heterogeneous property zones. In addition, the many powerful and easy-to-use graphical tools give you all the flexibility you need to assign steady-state or transient boundary conditions. The following section describes the sequence of Visual MODFLOW input screens and model building tools which are provided for creating your model input data.

Grid Design

Visual MODFLOW allows you to rotate the model grid over the site map (DXF of BMP format) to align the model with the site characteristics and groundwater flow direction. The finite-difference grid can be modified by adding, deleting, moving and automatically refining rows, columns and layers using standard 'point-and-click' methods. Automatic grid smoothing can also be used to identify and fix regions of the grid which are poorly designed and may lead to numerical instability. Since most aquifers are not 'flat' layers, Visual MODFLOW allows you to import layer surface data from ASCII (X,Y,Z) test files or SURFER (GRD) files. It even has a built-in checker to layer surfaces from intersecting each other. The layer surface elevations and thickness can also be visualized using plan view contours or by viewing the model grid in cross section.

Pumping Wells

Pumping well or injection wells can be added, deleted, copied or moved using the intuitive well editing tools that allow you to graphically delineate the well screen interval and enter or import real-time pumping schedules from an ASCII text file. For sites with many pumping wells, Visual MODFLOW can also import all relevant pumping well data. Multiple well screens for a single well are easily accommodated while the pumping rate distribution between layers is automatically calculated based on the transmissivity of the layers through which it is screened. The well details and pumping schedule can be readily accessed and changed at any time. Observed head at the well can be adjusted according to the position of the well within the grid cell and radius of the well.

Properties

All model properties including hydraulic conductivity (Kx, Ky, and Kz), Specific Storage (Ss), Specific Yield (Sy), and Porosity are assigned by either painting single cells, delineating polygons, or stretching a window around the selected grid regions. Each different property zone is color-coded according to differentiate zones with different property values. The property distribution from a single layer can be copied to any other layer(s) to eliminate repetitive steps involved in developing the model input files. Individual Property values and property zones can be edited at any time using the property database to make global modifications. For complex stratigraphy and varying hydraulic conductivity, it is important to be able to display the model property distributions in plan view and cross section to gain a proper perspective on the geometry of the site.

Boundary Conditions

MODFLOW boundary conditions supported by Visual MODFLOW include both steady-state and transient boundary conditions for Constant Heads, Rivers, General Heads, Drains, Horizontal Flow Barrier, Recharge and Evapotranspiration. Each type of boundary condition has a specific color code to differentiate them from one another. The convenient graphical tools allow you to assign these boundaries as either single cells, a polyline of cells with automatic interpolation of values, a polygon of cells or as a rectangular window of cells. For transient simulations, real-time schedules of boundary condition values can be entered directly or imported into the time schedule from an ASCII text file.

Particles

Forward or backward tracking particles can be easily assigned for determining advective transport, preferred flow pathways and delineating well capture zones. Visual MODFLOW's intuitive graphical tools allow you to easily assign single particles, lines of particles and a circle of particles. These particles can be easily toggled from forward to backward tracking with the click of the mouse. For transient simulations, the release times for the particles can also be assigned to groups of particles or individually to each single particle. This is particularly useful for demonstrating how the flow system and directions of flow change with time during varying pumping schedules or flow variation due to seasonal influences.

Observation Wells

Visual MODFLOW provides you with all the tools you need to calibrate your model to steady-state or transient flow conditions. The graphical tools allow you to easily assign single observation points or import data for situations where you have many different observation points and data. Once a single observation well has been entered, it can be copied or moved to any location within the model domain.

Zone Budget

The Zone Budget package allows you to produce zone-to-zone flow summaries for regions of interest in your model domain. This can be used to estimate flow contributions to a well from specific layers in your model or to predict groundwater discharge to specific sections along a river. Visual MODFLOW allows you to assign zones by painting single cells, delineating polygons or by stretching a window across the selected cells in the zone. Each zone is color-coded to differentiate the various zones throughout the model domain. These zones can be copied to other layers in the model to save time and avoid unnecessary repetition.

The MT3D Input Interface

The MT3D menu item transfers the user to the MT3D Input Module to assign the necessary contaminant transport properties and boundary conditions. The following sections briefly describe the menu selections for the MT3D Input Module and the features and capabilities of each menu option.

Initial Concentrations

In many cases you will be modeling a groundwater plume which already exists and will try to predict the fate of the existing plume. In order to simulate this plume, you will need to be able to assign the initial concentrations that you observe in the field. Visual MODFLOW allows you to graphically assign zones of initial concentration throughout the model domain by painting single cells, delineating polygons or by stretching a window across the selected cells in the zone. Each zone is color coded to identify the concentration distribution. These zones can be copied to other layers in the model to save time and avoid unnecessary repetition.

Boundaries

Visual MODFLOW supports transport boundary conditions for constant concentrations, recharge concentrations, sink terms and point sources. Each type of boundary condition has a different color code to differentiate it when multiple source terms are present. All boundaries can be assigned as either single cells, a polyline of cells with automatic interpolation of values, a polygon of cells or a window of cells. For transient simulations, real-time schedules of boundary condition values can be entered directly or imported into the time schedule.

Observation Wells

Graphically assign observation well locations and enter the steady-state or transient observed concentration information using an intuitive graphical window or by importing transient observation data. The tools available allow you to add, delete, move and copy selected observation points to anywhere throughout the model domain.

Dispersion

Input and modify the dispersion values of the model porous media. The various menu options allow you to assign color-coded dispersion values by either painting single cells, delineating polygons, or stretching a window around the selected grid cells. The properties from a single layer can be copied to other layers to eliminate unnecessary repetition. Individual dispersion values can be modified at any time using the color-coded property database.

Chemical Reactions

Enter the layer-by-layer parameters necessary to calculate the sorption and/or degradation of the contaminant in the groundwater. These parameters include soil bulk density, first and second sorption constants, and first-order decay rates. Visual MODFLOW also now fully supports cell-by-cell reaction terms and time-varying constant concentration terms for MT3D96. This is an important consideration if you are planning to simulate local zones of higher reaction coefficients or sorption terms.

Visual MODFLOW Analysis Features - The Run Module

The Visual MODFLOW Run Module allows the user to select and modify the various MODFLOW, MODPATH and MT3D run-time options and execute the Win32 MODFLOW Suite directly from Visual MODFLOW.

MODFLOW and MODPATH Run Options

Basic Time Steps: Set the number of time steps between each stress period and the time-step multiplier for each stress period.
Initial Heads Assign initial heads values as constant by layer, import from ASCII (x,y,h) files or SURFER (GRD) files, or use heads from a previous MODFLOW simulation.
SolverSelect from either the SSOR, SIP, PCG2, or WHS Solver and customize the solver parameters and convergence criteria.
RechargeSpecify whether the recharge is assigned to the top layer only or to the upper most active layer in the model.
LayerSpecify the layer type for each layer in the model domain from the following: Type 0 - Confined, Constant S, T; Type I - Unconfined; Type II - Confined/Unconfined, Variable S, Constant T; Type III - Confined/Unconfined Variable S, Variable T.
BCFAnisotropy: Select whether to use cell-by-cell values for Kx and Ky or assign the anisotropy ratio (Ky/Kx) for each layer in the model.
Rewetting: Turn the cell re-wetting package on or off and customize the cell rewetting parameters.
Output ControlOutput control options allow you to select which time steps to print to the MODFLOW Output file.
PathlinesModify the default run-time particle tracking options available from MODPATH.
RunExecute the Win32 MODFLOW Suite to run the computational analysis of the model using the selected models (MODFLOW-96, MODPATH, Zone Budget and MT3D).
TranslateTranslate the Visual MODFLOW files to MODFLOW, MODPATH, Zone Budget and MT3D readable input data files.

MT3D Run Options

AdvectionSelect one of the following numerical methods for analyzing contaminant transport:
- Finite Difference
- Method of Characteristics
- Modified Method of Characteristics
- Hybrid Method of Characteristics
Output/TimeSelect the times to output MT3D concentrations and specify the number of time steps for the simulation.
Initial ConcentrationsImport the initial concentrations for each layer from an ASCII (x,y,c) file or a SURFER (GRD) file, or use a previous MT3D (UCN) file.


The Win32 MODFLOW Suite

Visual MODFLOW for Windows 95/NT now includes the Win32 MODFLOW Suite with MODFLOW-96, MODPATH, Zone Budget and MT3D (DOD v.1.5) compiled to run as Windows 95/NT 32-bit applications. This unique and powerful modeling utility actually provides you with the ability to control the numerical solution process by manipulating the solver parameters and convergence criteria while the solution is in progress. In addition, it provides a real-time graphical display of the solution convergence data and a detailed graphical summary of the Zone Budget results.
After each successful run has been completed, the Win32 MODFLOW Suite automatically produces all the necessary files required for you to analyze and interpret the results and produce full-color, report-quality graphical presentations using Visual MODFLOW's postprocessing graphical features.

Visual MODFLOW Display Features - The Output Module

The ability to visualize the simulation results is almost as important as creating the model in the first place. In order to get the most out of the model you build, it is critical you have the tools necessary to properly analyze and interpret the results. The Visual MODFLOW Output Module automatically reads the results files from each successful simulation and provides a comprehensive selection of graphical formats for displaying full-color results in plan view and cross-sectional views.

Contours

The contouring menu selection allows you to contour the results of the modeling simulation in plan view or cross section. The contouring selections are as follows:

- Heads
- Drawdown
- Concentration
- Water Table Elevation
- Head difference between layers
- Flux between layers
- Layer elevation (top, bottom and thickness)
- Net recharge
The contouring options button along the left-hand menu bar allows you to adjust the maximum, minimum, and interval of the contour lines, assign customized contour levels, adjust the speed/resolution of the contouring, change the color of the contour lines, and produce dazzling color fills of contoured results. The right mouse button can also be used to activate contour options that allow you to add, move or delete contour labels or add a contour line at any location by pointing and clicking.
For transient simulations, Visual MODFLOW allows you to advance to successive output times or manually select the desired output time from a list of available time steps.

Calibration

Visual MODFLOW provides powerful analysis tools for evaluating the quality of the fit between the model you have developed and the data you have observed in the field. A regression analysis is provided which compares the simulated results to the observed data at the various observation points throughout the model domain. A regression graph is displayed with calibration statistics including Mean Error and Normalized Root Mean Square Error. This analysis can be applied to all calibration points or to selected observation points only. For transient simulations, Visual MODFLOW creates temporal plots of head, drawdown or concentrations at any point throughout the model domain. In addition, Visual MODFLOW also displays the calibration residuals at each observation point to help you identify the areas where further refinements are required.

Velocities

The flow velocity vectors provide an important representation of the groundwater flow direction within a particular layer, row or column of the model. Each velocity vector is color-coded to indicate whether it is flowing up or down relative to the plane being displayed. Display options include setting the number of velocity vectors per line, adjusting the scale of the velocity vectors, and toggling between simple direction vectors or magnitude vectors.

Pathlines

The flow pathlines provide an important representation of the flow direction and the path that the groundwater will follow from a specific location. Backwards particle tracking can also be used to indicate where the groundwater is coming from. Display options include viewing all pathlines as a projection through the entire model, viewing only those pathlines that start in the current layer, or viewing only the pathline segments which occur in the current layer. Time-related pathlines and time markers can also be displayed and individual pathlines or groups of pathlines can be toggled on or off using the mouse.

Zone Budget

Visual MODFLOW provides a detailed summary of the mass balance results and zone-to-zone flow exchanges. These mass balance results provide important information on the quality and reliability of the groundwater model you have built. If you do not achieve a reasonable mass balance between the flow entering the system and the flow leaving the system, your model will not yield reliable results. The mass balance results are summarized according to flow contributions from each type of boundary condition and can be used to identify regions where there are unreasonable flux rates. For a more localized summary of zone-to-zone flow exchanges, Visual MODFLOW uses Zone Budget to provide a detailed summary of the inflows and outflows from specified zones throughout the model domain.

Printing

Visual MODFLOW prints full-color, high-resolution graphics to any printer or plotter supported by Windows 95/NT. The graphical display of the simulation results and/or input files can be printed in portrait or landscape format as a full-page image or with a title block that describes the details of the model and the results being displayed. Color-shaded contours can be printed with or without a color legend.
Visual MODFLOW also prints the on-screen display to a DXF file format and exports results to ASCII files in 2-D or 3-D format.

3-D Visualization and Animation

Visual MODFLOW project files can be visualized and animated in 3D using Visual Groundwater (see Visual Groundwater product description). All input parameters and modeling results are read into Visual Groundwater and displayed using color-shaded contouring and velocity vectors on slices, multiple 3D isosurfaces, and 3D pathlines.

Requirements

PC 486DX/Pentium with 8 MB RAM and 45 MB disk space.

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