Getting Profile Output in a 2D Area

Written by ironcore | April 20, 2016

Back in September 2015, I wrote an article on how to extractflow data from a transect in a 2D area.   This was a round-about way of getting flow flux data out of RAS Mapper.  Back then the beta version of HEC-RAS 5.0 was somewhat limited in the ways data could be extracted from a 2D area.  In the final release of Version5.0, you may have noticed in the bottom left-hand corner of RASMapper, there is a very unassuming tab called “Profiles Lines”. 


Profile Lines are another way of extracting linear data from a 2D area, only these are extracted longitudinally, like a profile plot.  Here’s how it works:
      1.  Run your project and then open up RAS Mapper.  Activate your results by checking either the Depth, Velocity, or WSE output layer.  Turning on the particle tracing might help guide where you place your profile line.

2.  Select the Profile Lines tab.  Click the “+” button to draw a new profile line on your 2D area.  Double click to end the line and when prompted, give it a name.  Here I’ve named it “Profile 1” and it is stored in the Profile Lines bin.
     3.  Now select the pointer from the toolbar at the top and then right-click anywhere on your profile line.  Whatever results layers you have checked in the layer manager will be available as profile plots.
     4.   Click on whichever value you would like to see for the profile plot.  Here we can the see water surface elevation profile.  Notice that the terrain is included on this plot for reference.
And the velocity profile:
And the depth profile:


  1. Jeremy Payne

    on April 21, 2016


    Thanks for the article! I have two questions. First, if I'm modeling an entire stream reach with a 2D mesh, are profile lines the best way to approximate cross sections within the mesh to view results? Second, is there a way to insert monitoring points or stations for model calibration? Thanks so much for the help.

  2. Chris Goodell

    on April 21, 2016

    Jeremy, to get "cross section" like data, you might try using a 2D area Connection. You'll only get flow and average stage at the 2D connection, but if that's all you need, it would be a good method to use. Check this out:

    The only way I know of inserting monitoring points is by using a shapefile and bringing that in as a map layer. You can then compare your results in RAS Mapper with what you have in the shapefile.

  3. Anonymous

    on April 22, 2016

    You can use Crayfish to load your results and there is a Plot tool to generate plots and cross sections:

  4. cgarner

    on October 19, 2016

    Hi Chris,

    I would like to see the flow in my calibration for each output time step along a cross section at an internal point in my 2d mesh. Similar to Jeremy's question above. I tried using a profile line but I am getting an out of memory exception. See screen shot here:

    Task manager shows shows RAM usage < 8gb and my machine has 40gb. I am running 5.0.3. Does anyone have suggestions as to why this isn't working?


  5. Chris Goodell

    on October 19, 2016

    That's strange. I would try the following to resolve this. 1. Close RAS. 2. Delete all of your hdf files (both plan and geometry hdf files) as well as your rasmapper file. 3. Reopen RAS. 4. Save your geometry. 5. rerun the project. 6. Try reading off the profile line again. If that doesn't fix it, try some different profile lines. See if they work or if none of them work. You can always try rebooting your machine as well, but doubt that will fix it. Good luck.

  6. cgarner

    on October 19, 2016

    Thanks Chris. I will try your suggestion and see if that resolves the problem. I am able to plot the depth, WSE, and velocity under Profile Line>Plots, the error only occurs under Profile Line>Time Series>Flow/Accumulated Flow. My project is a 5 day simulation with 15-minute inflows and 10 sec computational interval, and 15-minute output so maybe it is a memory issue.

  7. Unknown

    on July 6, 2017

    Hi Chris
    I have been using HECRAS 2D and for one particular project I'm getting unusually high WSE, depths and elevations when I set the results to MAX. I'm running a 24hr simulation with 10minute intervals.
    The maximum discharge is 4.3m3/s (hydrograph calculated from HECHMS)

  8. Chris Goodell

    on July 7, 2017

    Could be the model is unstable. What is your Courant number?

  9. Anonymous

    on October 26, 2017

    Try to reduce the computational time interval, maybe 1 min or less. What Chris said, what is your Courant number?

  10. Boniface Kinnear

    on October 29, 2017

    Thanks for that. That approach worked although my models ran for 22 hours.

    One other thing I needed clarification on with the 'MAX' results matter is what do they actually represent:
    1. Are they associated with any particular time step?
    2. Do they show the maximum build up of runoff in the 2D area without accounting for simultaneous emptying of the area? I normally use Normal Depth for my downstream condition, does this have any effect on how the magnitude of the maximum values, particularly the depth?

    Whenever possible/suitable I also run a 1D model which doesn't always give satisfactory results in dense urban catchments without fine-tuning


  11. Chris Goodell

    on October 30, 2017

    MAX results is simply a collection of the maximums that occured during the simulation. The MAX results do not represent any given timestep.

  12. Unknown

    on November 8, 2017

    i have a question. it is i have modelled the 2d area using mesh. peak values of inflow hydrographs are about 10m3/s.but i got the as peak flow of the outflow hydrograph 100000m3/s. there is some instability. how to fix this problem.. can u reply as soon as possible

  13. Ayesh Gunathilaka

    on November 8, 2017

    i have same question. how to fix this.. i mean how to stable the model.

  14. Chris Goodell

    on November 10, 2017

    Check your Courant number.

  15. Chris Goodell

    on November 10, 2017

    It should be close to a value of 1.

  16. Sumiran Mathur

    on February 3, 2018

    time series>> volume accumulation and time series>> flow both commands are giving error.
    i,m running precipitation only simulation at 2 hour interval.
    Can anyone please help!!
    error — " unhandled exception has occurred in a component in your application…… Object refrence not set to an instance of an object"
    Help !!

  17. Anonymous

    on September 19, 2018

    Hi Chris:
    i have a problem with flow input. i want to input the flow rate along the upstrem BC line, but it appeals in the RAS mapper only the tip of the BC lien, can you please help me?

  18. Unknown

    on November 16, 2018

    cgarner, did this solution work for you? I am encountering the same issue.

  19. Unknown

    on December 5, 2018

    Hi Chris,

    Can we build a model of dense river network from HecRAS2d itself as for the same we need to enter multiple internal hydro-graph as internal boundary conditions for flow conserve. Since after giving internal hydro graph there are instances of back water affect from that cell.

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