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Visual MODFLOW Flex allows you to export some raw data and most of the numerical model inputs and outputs to shapefiles for external analysis.


Data Objects

Data ojects in the Data Explorer can be exported to external formats as follows:

Points, Polygons and Polylines can be exported to shapefiles (*.SHP), or comma-separated values text files (*.CSV)

Surfaces and Horizons exported to comma-separated values text files (*.CSV)

Surfaces that have been generated based on a uniform grid spacing (i.e. ΔX = ΔY = constant) can also be exported to a Surfer ASCII grid files (*.GRD)


To export a data object:


From the Data Explorer, right-click on the desired data object, and select Export from the pop-up menu.

A Save As dialog box will display on your screen

Specify a file Name and Folder location, and the File Type for the exported file, and then click the [Save] button.

Click the [OK] button from the Export dialog box.


Model Explorer Objects


Exporting to Shapefiles

Export to points or polygon shapefile is currently available for the following:


Model Inputs:

oNumerical Grid

oProperties: Conductivity, Storativity, Initial Heads, Longitudinal Dispersion,Species Parameters, Initial Concentrations, and Bulk Density

oBoundary Conditions: Recharge, Evapotranspiration, and UZF

oZone Budget Zones


Model Outputs:




oConcentration: each constituent species is exported separately


When exporting point shapefiles, one point will be exported for each applicable cell centroid.  When exporting polygon shapefiles, one polygon will be exported for each applicable cell.


To export data on the model explorer, right-click on the desired item (eg. Conductivity), and select Export.... as shown below.



The following dialog will appear; note at the bottom you have the option to choose Points Shapefile or Polygon Shapefile depending on the type of data to be exported.



Click OK.  Depending on the type of data, you may have additional settings. The following options are available for Properties:




Choose which attributes you want to be generated and what layers should be included.


Click OK and the shapefile will be created.


Exporting Output Heads and Concentrations

The following additional options are available for exported output Heads and Concentrations:



Choose which attributes you want to be generated and what layers should be included.


If your model has transient heads, you have an option to include Heads from multiple times as separate attributes in the shapefile .DBF file. Choose specific times or 'Select Heads at All Times' to include all heads.


Notation in Shapefile DBFs

There are some restrictions on attribute names in DBF files; the length is restricted to 10 characters, and certain characters cannot be used, including decimal (.), hyphens (-), and plus sign (+).  As such, Visual MODFLOW Flex uses the following notation:


For transient heads, the attribute name notation is HT (head at time) followed by the time value - an underscore is used in place of a decimal, M is used in place of hyphen, and is used in place of plus.


For example:

Calculated head times

Notation in DBF file









Exporting Output Fluxes

You are also able to export your flux data for Boundary Condition cell zones. After you have run your model you will find Fluxes in the Output of the model explorer - right click and select export and the Export fluxes dialog will appear.



You must specify the location of the file. Then select which boundary condition group - and the specific boundary conditions.

You can specify to export:

Base Flow Rate

In Flow Rate

Out Flow Rate


Exporting Contours

Output contour lines can be exported as polyline shapefiles for further analysis and mapping in external applications. To do this, enable the 3D subview to render the contours, then right-click on the contoured output (e.g. Heads, Drawdown, Concentrations) and select "Export contours...". A polyline shapefile will be created for the contours as specified in the relevant object settings.  You can adjust the contour lines, including adding custom lines, using the ThreeSlices>ContourLine settings in the 3D subview or the ContourLine settings in a 2D subview.


Exporting Particle Pathlines

Pathline and time markers can be exported to shapefiles for further analysis; right-click on the Forward or Backward Pathlines on the model explorer, and choose Export.  A points shapefile will be created for the time markers, and a polyline shapefile will be created for the pathlines. The exported files will utilize the pathline options you have currently defined in the view for the tracking time and time marker frequency. See the section on visualizing particle track results for more information.


Exporting to Text Files

Export to Text-IJK/.CSV files is currently available for the following:


Model Inputs

oModel Layers

oBoundary Conditions: all, including wells, but excluding recharge, evapotranspiration, and UZF


Model Outputs

oWater Table


You can export your Model Layers to .CSV or .TXT by right-clicking on the grid in the Model Explorer and selecting Export Layers...

Then you can provide the location and select if you want .CSV or .TXT.

Once you select Save you will be notified that the layers have been exported and given the option to open the exported file.



The resulting file will contain Layer, Row, Column, X, Y, Z, Top, Bottom, and Thickness information.


Boundary conditions can be exported using the same steps described for exporting Model Layers above.  Boundary condition data fields will be exported along with the Layer, Row, and Column data fields. Data fields for stress period start and end times will be added if the boundary condition is transient.






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