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Groundwater Vistas

Detailed Description

Groundwater Vistas

Groundwater Vistas


Groundwater Vistas (GV) is a sophisticated Windows graphical user interface
for 3-D groundwater flow & transport modeling . GV couples a powerful model
design system with comprehensive graphical analysis tools. Developed by the
author of ModelCadTM, GV is a model-independent graphical design system for
MODFLOW MODPATH (both steady-state and transient versions), MT3DMS,
MODFLOWT, MODFLOW-SURFACT, MODFLOW2000, GFLOW, RT3D, PATH3D, SEAWAT and PEST, the model-independent calibration software. The combination of PEST
and GV's automatic sensitivity analysis make GV a powerful calibration tool.

The advanced version of Groundwater Vistas provides the ideal groundwater
risk assessment tool. Groundwater Vistas is the first modeling environment
for the
MODFLOW family of models that allows for the quantification of uncertainty. Stochastic (Advanced) Groundwater Vistas includes, Monte Carlo versions of
MODFLOW, MODPATH and MT3D, Geostatistical Simulators SWIFT support advanced
output options and more.

GV displays the model design in both plan and cross-sectional views using a
split window (both views are visible at the same time). Model results are
presented using contours, shaded contours, velocity vectors, and detailed
analysis of mass balance.


Licensing & Operating Systems

  • Native 64-bit Version of Groundwater Vistas & all models (not available in Standard version)
    • 64-bit version 20% to 97% faster than GV Version 5**
    • 32-bit version 20% to 60% faster than GV Version 5**
  • Supports 32-bit and 64-bit Versions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7
  • New HASP keys (dongles) allow us to provide upgrades via email

New Model Versions

  • MODFLOW2000 Version 1.19.01
  • MODFLOW2005 Version 1.8
  • MODFLOW-NWT Version 1.0 (New USGS Version to deal with dry cells)
  • MT3DMS Version 5.3
  • MODPATH Version 5
  • MODFLOW-Surfact Version 4*
    • Including TMP1 Package for transient hydraulic property changes
    • Density-dependent Flow
  • PEST Version 12.1 (with BEOPEST)

MODFLOW Packages & Options

  • Conduit Flow Process (CFP)
  • Sea Water Intrusion (SWI) Package for MODFLOW2000
  • PCGn Solver for MODFLOW2000 and MODFLOW2005
  • UPW & NWT Packages for MODFLOW-NWT
  • MNW2 Package for MODFLOW2000 and MODFLOW2005
  • SAMG Solver for MODFLOW2000 and MODFLOW2005*
  • Free Format option when writing MODFLOW input files
  • Write vertical anisotropy to LPF Package
  • Delete and insert stress periods
  • Option to not use negative IBOUND values in BASIC Package (use CHD instead)
  • Latest GMG solver modifications
  • Console versions of MODFLOW2000/2005 compatible with ESI Windows Versions

Groundwater Vistas Interface

  • Pan the plan view by grabbing with mouse
  • Zoom using scroll wheel on mouse
  • Return to previous views
  • More buttons on toolbar
  • Jump to specific time step
  • Delete figures
  • Cell inspector to view grid cell properties
  • Remembers options selected on key functions (e.g. import surfer files etc.)
  • Option to plot pressure head for MODFLOW-Surfact
  • Plot miniature hydrographs next to targets and monitoring wells
  • Improved cut/copy/paste in all spreadsheets
  • Option to activate memory compression (not available in Standard version)
  • Draw outline of active model grid
  • Option to only draw active grid cells
  • Option to lock analytic elements so they cannot be accidentally moved
  • Convert shapefiles to KML for display in Google Earth
  • Color-flood Boundary Condition cells based on computed flux
  • Compute mean/standard deviation for range of time steps in transient run
  • Associate projection file with exported shapefiles
  • Significantly expanded list of commands in automated reports/run logs
  • Enhanced Legend Contents

PEST & Calibration

  • Estimate vertical anisotropy (zones or pilot points)
  • Display pilot points that hit bounds
  • Display N largest residuals
  • Automatically rename all pilot points
  • Transient target report
  • Option to use command‐line model versions
  • Censored targets
  • Function to Shift Target Times
  • Flow direction targets
  • Setup of Beopest runs

** Higher number based on ESI's Standard Benchmark Simulation (mostly CPU with limited disk I/O)
* Extra charge item.

Import/Export Options

Matrix Export of Model Results

Model results can now be exported directly to a text file matrix or to a MODFLOW-style head-save binary file.

Improved ArcView Interface

We have made it easier to import transient Boundary Conditions and transient targets from shapefiles. We have also added the ability to import a Stream boundary condition from a polyline shapefile.

Automatically Import Parameters for Pest, UCODE, and MF2K

After a calibration run with Pest, UCODE, or MF2K, you can now automatically accept the revised parameter values. GV will look for the final parameters in the appropriate output file and put them in your model.

Import MT3D Files

You can now import existing MT3DMS datasets into a Groundwater Vistas model.

Import MODFLOW2000 Files

Groundwater Vistas can now import existing MODFLOW2000 datasets as well as MODFLOW88 and MODFLOW96 files.

Budgets and Balances

Zone Budget Report

While GV does not support the USGS ZoneBudget program directly, we now offer a report of mass balance that closely matches what ZoneBudget produces. Zones for the report are defined using HydroStratigraphic units and the report documents inflows, outflows and exchange of water between zones just like ZoneBudget.

New Calibration Graph

A common problem when calibrating with an inverse model (Pest, UCODE, MF2K) or the automated sensitivity analysis is that a few large residuals control the sum of squared residuals statistic. When this happens, your calibration efforts are focusing on just those wells with very large errors. A new graph plots cumulative sum of squared errors so you can see if most of that statistic is encompassed by just a few targets. The following example shows that 70% of the sum of squares is accounted for by 4 targets.

Mass Balance for Transient Models

You may now create a mass balance hydrograph for a transient model that summarised the changes in flux over time for the whole model, an entire layer, a window, or a digitized area. An example is shown below.

Easy Import of Model Results

Groundwater Vistas has been enhanced to allow you to quickly scan through the results of a transient model. Instead of repeatedly selecting Plot/Import Results, you now can select Plot/Next Timestep (Ctrl+Shift+N) or Plot/Previous Timestep (Ctrl+Shift+P).

Remote Model Launch (Distributed Computing)

The era of the Cray Supercomputer and other such vector processors is largely over. The latest trend is to use multiple cheap computers running in parallel to achieve significant increases in processing speed. The most widely known such system is called a Beowulf Cluster. You can now create your own simple Beowulf Cluster using Groundwater Vistas. ESI’s new Remote Model Launch technology allows you to run many models simultaneously when running Automated Sensitivity Analysis and Monte Carlo simulations.

Viewer Version

We have had some requests over the last couple of years for a limited version of GV that can be given to clients or others who just want to look at the model for review purposes. We have now created a 'Viewer Version' of Groundwater Vistas. When you run Groundwater Vistas without a hardware lock or code, it runs as a student version. The student version is limited to 50 rows, 50 columns, and 4 layers. If you try to open a Groundwater Vistas model larger than the student version GV reverts to 'Viewer' mode. In this mode, you can look at everything in the model and you can print. You cannot run models or make changes to the model, however. Thus, your client can simply download GV from our web site and install it to review your models.

Support for Models and MODFLOW packages

Updated Models

GV4 contains the latest versions of MODFLOW2000 (V1.12 at time of release), MT3DMS (V4.50 at time of release) and RT3D (V2.5 at time of release).

Multi-Layer Well Package (MNW)

GV has always supported MODFLOW-SURFACT’s Fracture Well. You can now also use the USGS version of the fracture well called the Multi-Node Well (MNW) Package. This package is available in MODFLOW96 and MODFLOW2000.

RT3D V2.5

GV now supports the new version of RT3D.

Improved Stream Support

GV now allows you to digitize streams and import them from ArcView Shapefiles. GV also has a command to error-check stream boundaries to make sure that they are numbered correctly. This can save a lot of time when using this complex boundary condition.

Better PEST-ASP Support

Pest-ASP is now in the public domain and is fully supported by Groundwater Vistas. This includes the use of pilot points, regularization, predictive analysis, and calibration-constrained monte carlo simulations.

MODFLOW96 Double Precision

We have added another version of MODFLOW to our collection of Windows models. The new model is a standard MODFLOW96 (including the LMG Solver and MNW Package) running in double precision. We added this version because most modelers are still relying on the older MODFLOW96 over MODFLOW2000 and because models are getting much bigger and more nonlinear. Under these circumstances, a double-precision version of MODFLOW will converge much better than a single-precision version.


North Arrow

You may now add a north arrow to the display in addition to the existing scale and other features.

Expanded Legend

The legend contains more items (like contours, vectors, particle traces, etc.) and you can override the text that is displayed on the legend for any item.

Boundary Condition Text

Each Boundary Condition can now have a unique text string that can be displayed or just used for internal documentation. This text can also be displayed in the Legend.

More Hot Keys

We have added more hot keys for common commands.

Launching Text Editors

GV now allows you to view virtually all input and model output files in a text editor of your choice. In the past, GV would allow you to view some input and output files but this has now been greatly enhanced.


Groundwater Vistas stores your current view, including what is displayed, the layer, model results, page setup options, etc. as a figure number. You may create a figure at any time and GV stores the information in a list. You can then scroll through and GV will replot the model view using those options. This is great for making a slide show, simple animation, or creating final figures for a report. This is also handy for storing views of parts of your model that you typically look at during calibration or when making predictions. You can quickly flip between different views using Figures.

Find Targets & Wells

A common problem in large complex models is finding one target or well among thousands. You can now search for a well or target by giving its name or even just a piece of the name. You can also select all targets of a given type for copy/paste or deletion. In the past, GV would select all targets regardless of type. Since targets are used for more and more types of things (pilot points, constraints, etc.), it is nice to be able to segregate them.

Major Features

  • Displays both plan & cross-sectional views
  • Run all supported models from within GV
  • Numerous built in graphical outputs
  • Integration with ArcView and EQuIS
  • Automatic Calibration procedure and supports PEST ASP and UCODE model-independent calibration software
  • Support for SEAWAT: Simulation of Three-Dimensional Variable-Density Ground-Water Flow
  • Imports existing MODFLOW, ModelCad and FLOWPATH files
  • Imports data from SURFER and ASCII files
  • Export results to SURFER, Slicer, DXF, BMP, WMF, Earth Vision, EVS, Tecplot, ArcView and ASCII files


MODFLOWwin32 is a advanced pre and postprocessing version of this popular groundwater flow model, originally developed by the USGS. MODFLOW is a 3D finite-difference groundwater flow model, and there are many versions available. Unlike other versions of MODFLOW, however, MODFLOWwin32 was developed specifically for Microsoft Windows (Win32s) and Windows NT. Using a unique technology, MODFLOWwin32 runs as a DLL which is controlled by a shell program or by ContourWin32 which is provided with MODFLOWwin32.

  • Runs 10 to 20 percent faster than other versions of MODFLOW for DOS!
  • Contains the BCF2, BCF3, PCG2, STREAM Routing, and Aquifer Compaction Packages
  • User interface organizes file names and allows user to abort the simulation or force convergence when the solution oscillates
  • Uses all memory available to Windows, including virtual memory
  • Runs as a 32-bit DLL in Windows V3.1+, Windows NT, and Windows 95
  • Reads files created by all popular MODFLOW preprocessors
  • All MODFLOW manuals have been reformatted as Windows Help files
  • Provides several user-selectable levels of multi-tasking, even under Windows V3.1
  • Iteration data displayed as MODFLOWwin32 runs.


  • Windows!

The other major groundwater modeling products were ported from Unix or DOS. GV was designed for Windows 95, 98, and NT exclusively. GV offers cut/copy/paste, WYSIWYG printing, and a multi-document interface.

  • Telescopic Mesh Refinement

Telescopic Mesh Refinement (TMR) is the process of creating a local scale Refined model from a large scale model. Both steady state and transient TMR models can be created. No other modeling interface has this capability!

  • Automated Calibration

GV already supports not just one but a variety of inverse (auto-calibration) models including PEST, UCODE, and a new inverse model built right into the GV interface. You may calibrate on any combination of aquifer parameters including hydraulic conductivity, vertical conductance, boundary head, well flow rate, recharge, and evapotranspiration. No other modeling interface has this capability!

  • All MODFLOW Version

GV supports all versions of MODFLOW, MT3D, and MODPATH, including MODFLOW'96, MODFLOWT, MODFLOW-SURFACT, MT3D'96, MT3DMS, and RT3D. No other modeling interface has this capability!

  • RT3D Model

GV supports the use of the RT3D model, a multi-species reactive transport code based on MT3D. RT3D is designed to simulate natural attenuation processes, accelerated bioremediation schemes, and dissolution of NAPLs.

  • Monte Carlo Risk Analysis

You may upgrade the standard GV to Stochastic Groundwater Vistas and get special Monte Carlo versions of MODFLOW, MODPATH, and MT3D. No other modeling interface has this capability!

  • 3D Visualization

GV exports data to a variety of formats for viewing model results using the latest 3D products, including Slicer, Earth Vision, EVS, Environmental Workbench, Tecplot, and others. No other modeling interface supports this many formats!

  • Hydrostratigraphic Units

GV now includes the option of defining hydrostratigraphic units, which are defined by grouping aquifer units together. Several zones, spanning several layers can be grouped together, for performing group sensitivity analyses and calibration. This new feature saves you time!

  • Matrix Calculator

This important new feature allows you to display a combination of any selected model parameters (conductivity, recharge, layer elevation, etc.) or computed value (head, concentration, velocity, etc.) This enables you to show input/output relationships.

  • Import/Export Anything!

You may import just about any type of data into Groundwater Vistas and export it back out again. File types include SURFER grid files, DXF files, ASCII text files, matrix files, MODFLOW files, etc. You may also use cut/copy/paste to and from any spreadsheet in GV.


  • Stochastic MODFLOW and Groundwater Vistas is the first modeling environment for the MODFLOW family of models that allows for the quantification of uncertainty.
  • Stochastic Groundwater Vistas includes
    • Monte Carlo versions of MODFLOW, MODPATH and MT3D
    • New stochastic processing features in Groundwater Vistas
    • Groundwater Vistas User's Guide and Documentation
    • Tutorial for beginners
    • Geostatistical Simulators
    • GV3 supports SWIFT (large discount on SWIFT if bundled with GV3)
  • The approach used by Stochastic MODFLOW is the Monte Carlo technique, a common method employed by groundwater professionals for assessing risk. In the past, however, these risk assessments have relied primarily on simple analytical solutions and calculations. Here for the first time is a practical tool for assessing risk using more complex and real-world groundwater models. We are excited about these new Monte Carlo models and hope that Stochastic MODFLOW will bring groundwater modeling to a new level.
  • Types of Graphical Displays for Stochastic Groundwater Vistas
    • Contour and/or color flood of mean head, drawdown, or concentration
    • Contour and/or color flood of standard deviation for head, drawdown, or concentration
    • Contour and/or color flood of geostatistical simulations
    • Contour and/or color flood of any particular realization
    • Scatter plot of calibration statistics versus realization number
    • CDF, PDF, and CCDF plots for head, drawdown, or concentration at targets and observation wells
    • Breakthrough curves with confidence limits
    • Probability of Capture may be contoured and color flooded
  • Main Features of Stochastic Groundwater Vistas
    • Groundwater Vistas performs all preprocessing and postprocessing
    • Monte Carlo models may be launched directly from GV
    • Virtually any aquifer property or boundary condition can be sampled using normal, lognormal, uniform, log-uniform, or triangular distributions
    • Hydraulic conductivity and leakance can use geostatistical simulation results
    • Monte Carlo simulations may be conditioned to remove unrealistic results
    • Compute mean and standard deviation for head, drawdown, and concentration
    • Extract or delete individual realizations
    • Condition based upon any combination of calibration statistical measures
    • Summary report of parameter values sampled in each realization

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