Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Creating Static Results Maps (Shapefiles or Rasters) using RAS Mapper

Written by Mikell Warms  |  WEST Consultants
Copyright © The RAS Solution.  2016.  All rights reserved.
Many readers have been asking how to create shapefiles and other static maps in RAS Mapper. One of the main differences between RAS Mapper in RAS 4.1 and RAS 5.0 is the existence of Dynamic Maps. What makes these maps dynamic is that when you have that Results Layer selected in RAS Mapper, you can use the slider bar (top right) to animate through the simulation and see the results of that layer at each mapping output interval (or each profile for steady flow models). These maps are not saved to the disk, they are temporarily stored in memory.

With this change, you can no longer “Export Layer to Shapefile” as you could previously, due to the fact that these dynamic layers are not one map, they are many maps.

To create static maps, such as shapefiles or rasters, we must first tell RAS Mapper what type of static map we want (Inundation Boundary, Velocity, Shear Stress, etc.) and whether we want the data from a specific timestep, or max/min. To do this, right click on the bold “Results” heading in the Layer Manager in RAS Mapper, then choose “Manage Results Maps”.  All of your plans and default layers will load (like below):

Choose the plan you are interested in, and click on “Add New Map.”

If you’re running a Steady model, the window that pops up will look like this: 

If you’re running an Unsteady model, the window that pops up will look like this: 

Choose the Map Type you are interested in creating; in this case we are creating a maximum Inundation Boundary. Notice we have chosen “Maximum” under the Unsteady Profile options, but we could have chosen “Minimum” or a specific point in time. On the right hand side of the window, make sure to change the Map Output Mode to one of the “Stored (saved to disk)” options, depending on your needs. In this case, we are creating a shapefile polygon. Then click Add Map.

One last step. The Manage Results Maps layer should now look like below:

Notice the static map we have added has appeared. However, the Inundation Boundary map status says “Map Not Created”. You will need to select that map, and click on “Compute/Update Stored Maps” at the top right. If you have multiple static maps, you can select them all by holding the CTRL key and selecting multiple maps prior to computing them.

Once the computations have completed, the status will change to “Map files up to date” and RAS will save your shapefile in your HEC-RAS project folder, in a subfolder that has the same name as the plan from which the shapefiles were created.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mississippi River Basin Model Clean-Up Day

For all the HEC-RAS users in the Mississippi area, please consider participating in this service event.  A great opportunity to network with others interested in hydraulic models and to help with the restoration of the historic Mississippi River Basin Physical Model.

Please contact Ms. Sarah McEwan at or visit

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

HEC-RAS Version 5.0.3 has been released!

Version 5.0.3 is now available from the HEC website.  Besides bug fixes, there are a few new or improved features of note:  
  • Culvert Inlet/Outlet Control
  • Using 2D Flow Equations at Lateral Structures
  • Flow and Volume Time Series Output on Profile Lines in RAS Mapper
  • Profile Line Point and Tick Marks
  • Legend for RAS Mapper
  • Improvements to sloping and hybrid map rendering modes
Please read the release notes for more information.

Version 5.0.3 can be downloaded here:

Good luck and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

HEC-RAS 5 2D Course in Barcelona / Curso de Modelación Bidimensional con HEC-RAS 5 en Barcelona

Para los compañeros usuarios de HEC-RAS hispanohablantes, mi colega Marty Teal estará dictando nuestro curso de modelación bidimensional con HEC-RAS 5 en español en Barcelona el 19-21 de octubre, solo queda esta semana para inscribirse.

Vaya aquí para más información.

For my fellow Spanish speaking HEC-RAS Users, my colleague Marty Teal will be teaching our HEC-RAS 5 2D Course in Spanish October 19-21 in Barcelona, Spain. 

Go here for more information.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wormhole Culverts

This is one of the coolest workaround ideas for HEC-RAS that I've seen in a long time.  One of my joys in teaching HEC-RAS to professionals and students around the world is seeing the clever ways that people use and apply HEC-RAS.  Whether in a training class, giving technical support, or just simply over discussions with other HEC-RAS users, I still learn new ways to use HEC-RAS almost daily.  However, "Wormhole Culverts" has to be right up near the top of ingenious workarounds.

One current limitation in HEC-RAS 5 is that when you put a culvert or gate in a 2D Area Connection, flow through the culvert or gate can only go from a cell adjacent to the 2D Area Connection line on the upstream side to a cell adjacent to the 2D Area Connection on the downstream side.  If your cell size is relatively small and your culvert is relatively long, then your culvert may in reality span many cells between its upstream side and downstream side.  But the current limitation doesn't allow this.

wormhole_method_culvert_resultsBut we're in luck!  Mr. Con Katsoulas, a senior water resources engineering from SMEC in Sydney Australia came up with a method to get around this limitation.  He first discussed this in The RAS Solution forum.  And my friend and colleague, Mr. Krey Price of Surface Water Solutions wrote a detailed explanation on how to use this technique. Please read his blog post on wormhole culverts for the full description.

Good luck!  Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

HEC-RAS Dam Breach course in New Zealand!

Limited-time early-bird discounts available

Registrations are now available for our dam breach course in Auckland, New Zealand to be held from 29 November to 1 December 2016.  I will be teaching this course with help from Mr. Krey Price of Surface Water Solutions.  Please come and join us!

We have fewer than ten places remaining, so please register soon to confirm your place!
A $250 early-bird discount is available using coupon code “earlybird” at checkout.
Our agenda will cover unsteady flow, level pool versus dynamic routing, breach parameters, setting up a dam breach model, diagnosing and fixing dam breach models, and presentation of 1D and 2D case studies. Hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

HEC-RAS 2D Course in Concepcion, Chile November 8-10, 2016

If you are in the neighborhood, how about joining me for a course in HEC-RAS 2D modeling at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (Catholic University of Concepcion), Chile November 8-10, 2016.

Please visit the University's website for more information and to register.

Space will be limited, so don't delay signing up.  Hope to see you there!