FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q – Is it possible obtain the station elevation data for Transects automatically from a DEM using PCSWMM?

A – Yes, it is possible to develop transects directly from a DEM using the Transect Creator tool in PCSWMM.

It is also possible to define overbank stations from a line layer demarcating river overbanks. In addition, if you have a flood way or stream center line along with a cross-cut layer, PCSWMM can create the link-node drainage network (as well as the transects). The Transect Creator tool provides options for all of the above.

Q – I’m interested in finding the maximum capacity of my modeled conduits. While it is easy to find the Q/QFull, where do I find the QFull (i.e. not the maximum simulated in the run but the full channel flow)?

A – Conduit full flow (design flow) is reported in the Status panel in the Cross Section Summary table. You need to turn the Report Input Summary option (Simulation Options >> General tab) to have this table included in the SWMM5 status report file.

Q – As I am working my way through a rather complex area of our model I realized that it would be useful to control the color of individual conduits. For example, I am working in an area that has sanitary sewers, combined sewers and storm sewers all in the same right of way. To make it easier to track which line is which it would be very useful if I could change the color of the individual pipes based on the sewer type. Is this possible?

A – PCSWMM is similar to most GIS applications in that layers can be thematically rendered on any attribute, either by gradient (for numeric attributes) or discretely (for integer or text attributes). Thus, to render a SWMM5 layer on information other than that needed by SWMM5, you simply need to add an attribute (or “field”) to store this information, and then render the layer on that attribute.

The system a pipe belongs to (storm or sanitary) really should be an attribute of the conduit layer. We don’t provide a long fixed list of attributes (that you may or may not need), rather PCSWMM’s restructure tool allows you to add/edit/remove any number of custom attributes.

There are many advantages of storing this type of information as attribute data (rather than manually picking colors). Some examples include:

  • being able to limit entity selection to a particular system, e.g. select all undersized combined sewer pipes (HoursSurcharged > 0 and System = ‘Combined’)
  • being able to limit thematic rendering to one system, e.g. highlight with a larger red circle all sanitary sewer which flooded during the simulation (HoursFlooded > 0 and System = ‘Sanitary’)
  • being able to quickly switch between rendering themes (instead of manually changing the colors each time)

In your case, if you restructure your conduits layer to create an attribute called “System” and then set this attribute to “Sanitary”, “Storm” or “Combined”, you can quickly thematically render the conduits layer on this attribute.
If you want more advanced control, open the Advanced layer properties dialog, where you can choose how you want to render the line type, size, labeling, pick the exact colors, etc. for each system. You can also choose to temporarily hide conduits of a specific system, or even choose at what zoom level the separate systems appear(i.e. make some systems disappear at large extent views to avoid crowding the map).

Furthermore, through the advanced layer properties dialog, you can render layers by comparing multiple attributes, or by using logical statements. For example, you can color all conduits red that are more than 75% capacity (Capacity > 0.75), or increase the size and color all nodes red in which the max depth exceeds a user-defined threshold elevation (MaxHGL > ThresholdElev).
You can save and reload any number of different layer properties, which makes it quick to jump between different rendering themes. You can also export layer properties to other projects or layers.
The advanced layer properties control can do pretty much anything you can imagine so if you can’t figure out how to achieve something, please ask us for suggestions.