Friday, June 23, 2017

New Geospatial editing tools coming in HEC-RAS Version 5.1

Written by Chris Goodell  |  WEST Consultants, Inc.
Copyright © The RAS Solution 2017.  All rights reserved


New geospatial editing tools are currently in development for the next version of HEC-RAS-Version 5.1.  While no date has been set for the release of Version 5.1, it is expected sometime within the next year or two.  But no guarantees!  This will be an exciting new addition to HEC-RAS in that users will no longer be reliant on 3rd party software like ArcGIS or AutoCAD to develop geometric features like cross sections, river lines, flow lines, storage and 2D areas, etc.  All of this will be done within the HEC-RAS program environment.  And this will effectively eliminate the need for HEC-GeoRAS.

HEC recently published it's Spring 2017 Newsletter, which has a very nice article by Cameron Ackerman ,P.E., D.WRE on some of the new tools and capabilities that will be available within HEC-RAS Version 5.1 for extracting GIS information from digital terrain models.  The newsletter can be read here: 

http://www.hec.usace.army.mil/newsletters/HEC_Newsletter_Spring2017.pdf

Cameron's article on new geometric editing features in Version 5.1 starts on page 20.  

The new geospatial editing toolbar will serve as the base point for adding and editing geospatial features in HEC-RAS and will be docked to the RAS Mapper window.  It includes editing tools for adding new features, selecting/editing features, undo and redo, and  plotting terrain profiles.



With these tools, you'll be able to add geospatial features and interact with them directly within HEC-RAS.  Here you see the ability to move stream centerline points in RAS Mapper:



HEC also plans to have interactive help messaging while working in the geospatial environment to help the user identify errors in the geometry setup.  The following figure shows help messages for locations where bank lines do not intersect cross sections, which would result in missing bank stations.



These new features will make it much easier to identify problems with your model construction and fix those problems without having to leave HEC-RAS.  Here we see a poor definition of study limits not allowing for proper mapping of the flood inundation zone.  By quickly adjusting the study limit polygon, a more appropriate inundation map can be drawn.


This is just a brief preview of all of the exciting geospatial editing tools HEC-RAS will include in Version 5.1.  Please read the article by Cameron Ackerman in the HEC Spring 2017 Newsletter for more information.