MODEL VIEWER

SOFTWARE REVIEW by Evan R. Anderman, Calibra Consulting LLC,
and Eileen Poeter, Colorado School of Mines

Model Viewer is a public-domain U.S. Geological Survey program that displays the results of U.S.G.S. three-dimensional ground-water models. Written by Paul Hsieh and Richard Winston, Model Viewer is straightforward to use and performs its limited functions well. The visualization engine is the Visualization ToolKit, an open source, freely available software system for three-dimensional computer graphics, image processing, and visualization.

 



Model Viewer allows scalar data, such as hydraulic head or concentration, to be displayed as a solid or a set of isosurfaces. Directional data, such as velocity or specific discharge, can be displayed as vectors representing direction and magnitude. Model Viewer also displays pathlines, cells or nodes that represent model features such as streams and wells, and auxiliary graphic objects such as grid lines and coordinate axes. Users may crop the model grid in different orientations to examine the interior structure of the data. For transient simulations, Model Viewer animates the time evolution of the simulated quantities. Output can be sent to a printer or to bitmap files at user-defined resolution for further processing or animation.

The user manual is concisely written and offers a brief introduction to the concepts. The detailed help system picks up where the user manual leaves off. Model Viewer is an excellent way to visualize complex three-dimensional model results and allows users to rotate the model view and consider it from many perspectives. While the trackball method of changing the model view takes some getting used to, it changes the view rapidly. The various viewing tools can be left up on the screen so that options can be selected quickly. This flexible visualization tool aids understanding of the simulated system. Unfortunately, the software is limited in its function and there is not an option for annotating the viewer window or the surfaces or tracks being displayed. The user needs to postprocess the output for final presentation.

The current version of Model Viewer runs on Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000 and XP operating systems and supports the following models: MODFLOW-2000, MODFLOW-2000 with the Ground-Water Transport Process, MODFLOW-96, MOC3D Version 3.5), MODPATH, MT3DMS, and SUTRA (Version 2D3D.1). Model Viewer is designed to read input and output files directly from these models, thus minimizing the need for additional postprocessing. Model Viewer is available for download from the U.S. Geologcial Survey's website at http://water.usgs.gov/nrp/gwsoftware/modelviewer/ModelViewer.html. Rating System 5=Excellent, 4=Very Good, 3=Good, 2=Satisfactory, 1=Poor Ease of Use 4 GUI 4 Application 3 Output/Plotting 2 Documentation 4 Best Feature 3D Graphics Speed 5 Worst Feature Trackball Overall Rating 4


Rating System
5=Excellent, 4=Very Good, 3=Good, 2=Satisfactory, 1=Poor

Ease of Use
4
GUI
4
Application
3
Output/Plotting
2
Documentation
4
Best Feature
3D Graphics
Speed
5
Worst Feature
Trackball
Overall Rating
4

Last Update: August 2004