US Army Corps of Engineers
Engineer Research and Development Center Website

Groundwater Modeling System

Published Feb. 3, 2014
A GMS screen capture displays a plume iso-volume to help engineers better analyze data.

A GMS screen capture displays a plume iso-volume to help engineers better analyze data.

Mosul Dam visual models shows detailed layers of groundwater seepage.

Mosul Dam visual models shows detailed layers of groundwater seepage.

Expedites Environmental Clean-Up

Without proper care, the handling and disposal of hazardous chemical compounds can contribute to subsurface environmental problems. Remediation efforts to repair environmental damage can take years and cost millions of dollars. Engineers need a tool to help them improve their understanding of groundwater flow and contaminant transport in complex hydrogeological settings.

Provides Complete All-In-One Tool Set

The ERDC Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL), with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as cost-sharing partners, have developed the Department of Defense Groundwater Modeling System (GMS)—an integrated and comprehensive computational environment for simulating subsurface flow, contaminant fate/transport, and the efficacy and design of remediation systems.

GMS is the premier groundwater software to develop, characterize, and visualize models in a three-dimensional (3D) environment. This comprehensive graphical subsurface modeling environment incorporates a suite of numerical modeling programs, which allow engineers and others involved in hydrodynamic modeling to visualize project sites, evaluate cleanup alternatives, and predict their effectiveness.  GMS provides tools for every phase of a groundwater simulation:

  • Model development and site characterization
  • Mesh and grid generation
  • Geostatistics
  • Post-processing, calibration and visualization
  • Remedial alternative evaluation


Reduces Project Remediation Costs

GMS integrates and simplifies the process of groundwater flow and transport modeling by assembling, in one place,all of the tools needed to complete a successful study.  GMS users can continuously refine the 3D conceptual model to incorporate new data in order to understand where critical changes will occur.

The flexible modeling approach of GMS allows users to pick what works best for them. From the conceptual approach that scales large, complex models with efficiency to a grid approach for hands-on editing for models with simple geometry (this is not a complete sentence, as is).

GMS offers unparalleled subsurface modeling tools to perform advanced characterizations from cross-section editing to probability statistics. The 3D visual environment of GMS is optimized for performance, and since models require data from many different sources, GMS is built to easily import numerous file types. Overall, engineers and researchers using GMS can save time and money—as much as 20% on overall project remediation costs.

Success Stories

Mosul Dam visual models shows detailed layers of groundwater seepage.
In June 2006, the ERDC Mosul Dam Support Team transformed scores of historic paper documents into a geologic conceptual model and hydrogeologic model using GMS. In November 2006, the ERDC team transitioned a site-specific geologic conceptual model to Gannett Fleming, Inc., for an application of IntelliGrout® at Mosul Dam, Iraq.

The ERDC team transitioned the tools to the Mosul Dam staff through a hands-on workshop that included instruction in the geologic setting, its engineering implications, and use of the project GIS and GMS. This highly successful coupling of a hydrogeologic conceptual model and 3D groundwater flow model of the Mosul Dam foundation and abutments represents a unique and novel approach to dam rehabilitation and is among the most detailed geologic conceptual models ever built using the GMS platform.

In 2007, a team of engineers from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Philadelphia District and ERDC CHL was tasked by the USACE Jacksonville District to analyze the rehabilitation of Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD), Florida. GMS was used to develop a hydrogeologic model and numerical groundwater flow models of the HHD cutoff wall. The conceptual model compatibilities of GMS enabled a successful and ongoing, phased approach to this project, allowing models of differing scales and extents to utilize common data. Modeling efforts started with sensitivity analyses of the cutoff wall impacts on sub-regional and local groundwater flow (2007-09), followed by a quantity analysis of the effects of groundwater flow changes on saline water underlying the area (2010).  Most recently, a calibrated density-dependent flow model was developed to assess potential impacts to the saline groundwater (2011-13).



GMS is available for 32- and 64-bit Microsoft Windows-based operating systems, including Windows 7, XP, and Vista.

Several types of models are supported by GMS. The current version of GMS provides an interface for the codes ART3D, ADH, FEMWATER, MODAEM, MODFLOW, MODPATH, MT3DMS, RT3D, SEAM3D, SEEP2D, UTCHEM, UTEXAS and WASH123D. The parameter estimation code PEST and the geostatistic code T-PROGS are also supported.

ERDC CHL and its commercial partner Aquaveo continue to expand and enhance GMS with the design and development of additional tools and modeling interfaces.


Documentation, Training and Support

GMS is distributed via Internet download. The “Full Install” download of the software includes the full program, tutorial files, documentation, and supported model executables. More information is available at the CHL GMS webpage and Aquaveo.

For training and support information, email the US Army GMS Technical Support Center or call 601-634-4286.

Direct commercial inquiries to Aquaveo at, or call 801-691-5530.

Contact, 601-634-3699

Hydrolgoic Systems Branch, Watershed Group (CEERD-HFH-W)
US Army Engineer Research and Development Center | Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory