Visual MODFLOW Flex

  • 3D Visualization
    3D Visualization

    Compare field data with model inputs and results

  • Multiple Grid Types
    Multiple Grid Types

    Generate grids or meshes from your geologic model

  • Complex geology
    Complex geology

    Easily define complex geology from GIS data


    Increase accuracy where it matters with unstructured grids

  • Cutaway Views
    Cutaway Views

    See inside your model


    Simulate saltwater intrusion for coastal aquifers

  • Contaminant transport
    Contaminant transport
    Determine contaminant fate and exposure pathways for risk assessment
  • Contaminant transport
    Contaminant transport
    Natural attenuation of contaminant plumes
  • Contaminant transport
    Contaminant transport
    Evalutation of funnel & gate remediation
  • 3D Visualization
    3D Visualization
    Three-dimensional visualization for drawdown cones
  • Advanced 3D Visualization
    Advanced 3D Visualization
    Visualize specific levels of contamination and drape over a 3D surface

Training Courses

An Introduction to Groundwater Modeling

The course is designed to introduce the participants to the concepts and applications of groundwater modeling using the Visual MODFLOW...

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Introduction to Groundwater Modeling With MODFLOW-USG

The course is designed to introduce the participants to the concepts and applications of the MODFLOW-USG code using the Visual...

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Applied Groundwater Flow and Solute Transport Modeling

This 4-day applied groundwater modeling course was designed to present the theory behind MODFLOW, MODPATH, ZoneBudget, MT3D/RT3D and SEAWAT, and...

Learn more »

You are here:Software»Groundwater Modeling Software»Visual MODFLOW Flex


Groundwater Flow & Contaminant Transport Modeling Software

Visual MODFLOW Flex is more than just a graphical user interface for MODFLOW groundwater simulations. Visual MODFLOW Flex brings together industry-standard codes for groundwater flow and contaminant transport, essential analysis and calibration tools, and stunning 3D visualization capabilities in a single, easy-to-use software environment.

With Visual MODFLOW Flex, groundwater modelers have all the tools required for addressing local to regional-scale water quality, groundwater supply, and source water protection issues.

Why Choose Visual MODFLOW Flex?

Build models faster and more efficiently

With integrated 3D conceptual modeling, you will never have to rebuild a model again. Model inputs and grid design can be updated at any point in the modeling process as modeling objectives change, more data are collected and a better understanding of the sub-surface is achieved

Simple, easy-to-use

Since 1995, Visual MODFLOW has been recognized for its intuitive, easy-to-use interface. With Visual MODFLOW Flex, modeling steps are conveniently presented in an intuitive, workflow-driven graphical user interface, allowing you to see what steps you've completed, your current step and what steps you need to finish to reach your modeling objectives.

Save time and money

Visual MODFLOW Flex provides both GIS-based 3D conceptual modeling and numerical modeling all within a single integrated software environment. This reduces the need to maintain costly 3rd party pre-processing tools and eliminates the error-prone process of transferring data back-and-forth between different software packages and data formats.

Model with confidence

The 3D conceptual modeling capabilities allow you to easily interpret and analyze raw GIS data in 2D, 3D and cross-sectional viewers. This provides a visual quality assurance of the data and allows you to gain a solid understanding of the subsurface before designing the numerical model.

Build larger, more complex models

Visual MODFLOW Flex is equipped to handle vast quantities of detailed, high resolution data. With 64-bit support, you can leverage the extra memory available on 64-bit computer and simulate large and complex regional-scale groundwater systems.

Build credible models

With integrated modeling, model inputs and outputs can be easily visualized alongside raw GIS field data in 3D. This allows you to establish model credibility by demonstrating how numerical model data (model layers, flow parameters, recharge data) were generated from conceptual data (borehole logs, GIS data). Calculated heads and pathlines can also be displayed alongside conceptual model data to validate assumptions and further demonstrate model credibility.

Easily compare multiple models

Visual MODFLOW Flex's unique design permits easy side-by-side comparisons of multiple models allowing you to assess alternative modeling scenarios, grid discretizations and hydrogeologic interpretations.

Get started fast

Advance your technical knowledge and become an expert in no time with a wealth of learning and support resources including step-by-step tutorials, comprehensive user's guide, videos, online training courses and free webinars.

"I've been numerical modeling for almost 25 years, and I do believe, overall you have the best product!"
- H Ernie Roaza, EHS Support Inc., United States

Visual MODFLOW Flex Applications

Visual MODFLOW Flex can be used for an array of groundwater applications.

  • Delineate well capture zones for domestic water supply development
  • Design and optimize pumping well locations for mine dewatering projects
  • Determine contaminant fate and exposure pathways for risk assessment
  • Simulate surface water-groundwater interactions
  • Watershed scale/regional groundwater modeling
  • Evaluate groundwater remediation systems (pump and treat, funnel and gate etc)
  • Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR)

View all published applications of Visual MODFLOW.

What's New

What's New in Visual MODFLOW Flex 2014.2 (Released July 2014)

Define ZoneBudget Zones With Ease

Easily define zones for subregional water budget calculations by drawing polygon, polylines or points in the desired areas on your numerical model, or by choosing an existing data object, such as a shapefile or DXF layer.

New zones can now be automatically copied to multiple layers and edited directly via CSV file.

Support for Horizontal Flow (Wall) Barriers

The new release introduces support for the Horizontal Flow Barrier (HFB) Package which can be used to simulate barriers to flow such as slurry walls or faults. Wall boundaries are easily assigned using polyline shapes (digitized or existing conceptual model object) to represent the X-Y spatial extents, and horizon objects to represent the vertical extents.

Wall boundaries can be added to multiple layers within your model, and numerical attributes can be edited directly via CSV file. The Wall boundaries on the numerical model can be displayed in 3D view, and 2D views (layer and XS by row or column).

Improved Particle Tracking

Defining particles for MODPATH simulations has never been easier. In the new release, particles can be assigned by digitizing a circle, or drawing single particles. Particles can be quickly assigned to specific model layers to accommodate multi-layer pumping wells screens.

Particles can be removed from one or more layers. Simply draw a box around the desired area of your numerical model to remove any unwanted particles.

Water Table Visualization

Visual MODFLOW Flex 2014.2 is capable of producing detailed renderings of the water table. In 2D and 3D Viewers, the water table is rendered as a surface with color shading and contours. In cross-section view (row and column), the water table can be viewed as either smooth interpolated line, or as a "discrete" line where MODFLOW cell elevations are honored.

Water table data can be conveniently exported to CSV file for use in post-processing with other software.

Flexible Color Rendering Options

Customize the colors and value ranges, and display model properties, boundaries, heads, drawdown, concentrations and the water table exactly how you want them in 2D and 3D Viewers.

Advanced Editing of Numerical Model Inputs

Visual MODFLOW Flex 2014.2 gives you complete "back door" access to input files for advanced editing of numerical model data. Input data can be exported to CSV format, edited in Excel or your text editor of choice, and then loaded back into Visual MODFLOW Flex for visualization and processing. If you have existing scripts, these can be hooked up to the CSV file formats for efficient bulk edits of input files.


Export Charts to CSV Format

Model results can now be exported to CSV file format for loading into Excel or your preferred charting software for advanced charting and analysis (Observation vs Calculated Heads, Breakthrough Curves).

Other Improvements and Enhancements

  • Added support for rotated grids in the numerical modeling workflow
  • The default colors of property zones are now similar to Visual MODFLOW Classic making it easier to compare properties and boundary conditions between the Visual MODFLOW Flex and Classic interfaces
  • Improved navigation of workflows making it easier to skip completed steps
  • View the Visual MODFLOW Flex Readme page for a full list of bugs addressed in this release

Define Zone Budget zones with GIS data

Wall Boundary Condition

Improved methods for defining particles

Water table visualization in multi-view display

Customized Color Rendering of Concentrations

Export to Excel

Rotated numerical grids

 What's New in Visual MODFLOW Flex 2014.2

In the short video below, Wayne Hesch, Product Champion for Visual MODFLOW Flex, provides an overview of the new features available in the 2014.2 release.

Join the Discussion

Join the growing online community of Visual MODFLOW users on the LinkedIn Visual MODFLOW Users Group. Now with over 1000 members, it is one of the biggest online groundwater modeling groups on the web. Membership is free and only requires a free LinkedIn account.

Discuss the new release on the LinkedIn Visual MODFLOW Users Group

Discover new features added in recent releases


Comprehensive Groundwater Modeling

With Visual MODFLOW Flex you have a comprehensive set of tools necessary for addressing water quality, groundwater supply, and source water protection initiatives, including:

MODFLOW-2000, 2005

The world standard for groundwater flow modeling


A finite volume version of MODFLOW that uses unstructured grids. Learn more


Shared-node local grid refinement (LGR) for regional-local scale simulations


The standard package for multi-species contaminant transport simulations


The standard package for forward and reverse particle tracking

Zone Budget

A package for sub-regional water budget calculations

PEST v.12.3

Automated calibration and sensitivity analysis with support for pilot points

View all supported flow engines, transport engines and MODFLOW packages.

Powerful Data Visualization

Built and designed on the latest in 3D visualization technology, Visual MODFLOW Flex allows you to effectively present and communicate your data to colleagues and stakeholders with impressive visual renderings of your hydrogeologic model.

  • Visualize all data, including conceptual objects, numerical grids, input data (property zones, boundary condition cells) and output data (calculated heads, pathlines, water table) in state-of-the-art 2D, 3D and multi-view (FlexViewer) displays
  • Create cut-away and cross-sectional views that allow you to see inside your model
  • Generate 3D animations and movies for reports or the web
  • Add isolines, contours, pathlines and color shading to viewers
  • Drape raster images (site maps, satellite imagery) over 3D surfaces to show relief
  • Optimized OpenGL graphics for enhanced hardware rendering

Efficiently Manage Multiple Models

Most modeling projects involve several scenarios/versions, e.g., steady-state vs transient, different properties, inputs and grid types. Visual MODFLOW Flex allows you to assess uncertainty and improve model credibility through comparisons and analysis of multiple modeling scenarios - all within a single project.

  • Manage multiple model scenarios in a single project
  • Easily generate multiple models in parallel for evaluating alternative hydrogeologic interpretations and hypotheses
  • Make direct visual and numerical comparisons between different modeling scenarios
  • Calculate head differences between multiple model runs, with the same or different grid size
  • Compare and analyze multiple modeling scenarios for selecting the best, most realistic model

Full GIS Integration

Easily construct your grid-independent hydrogeologic conceptual model in minutes using existing GIS data sets.

  • Quick and easy data importing of all common file types and formats
  • Automatic coordinate system and units conversion on import
  • Automatic data validation and intelligent error checking on import
  • Define model boundaries, property zones, boundary conditions and attributes from imported GIS data

View all supported files types

  • Point, polygon and polyline data (.SHP, .XLS,.DXF, .TXT)
  • 3D Surfaces (.DEM, .ASC, .GRD)
  • Site maps, aerial and satellite imagery (.JPG, . BMP, .TIF, .GIF)
  • Borehole data, time schedules and cross-sections from Hydro GeoAnalyst
  • MODFLOW files from Groundwater Vistas, GMS, ModelMuse and PMWIN.
  • Native MODFLOW files
  • Existing Visual MODFLOW Projects (.VMF)
  • 3D Gridded Data

end faq

Flexible Grid Options

Visual MODFLOW Flex provides various grid types from which you can generate your numerical model. Easily experiment with different grid types and choose the one that gives you the best, most stable model.

  • Choose from various structured and unstructured grid types to accommodate a wide range of applications and geologic conditions (e.g., pinch outs, discontinuities)
  • Improve simulation accuracy, reduce runtimes and increase model stability with unstructured grid types (MODFLOW-USG)
  • Easily generate multiple grids within the same project and compare side-by-side in 2D or 3D
  • Perform grid refinement around areas of interest
  • Create faster more stable models with nested child grids that contain local horizontal and vertical refinement (MODFLOW-LGR)

View all supported grid types

White Paper:

pdf icon

Visual MODFLOW Flex Grid Types
A Review of Finite Difference Grid Types
Download »

end faq

Unparalleled Power and Performance

Take full advantage of 64-bit architecture and multiple core processors, and build bigger models and run simulations significantly faster.

  • Available in 64-bit with support for 64-bit engines
  • Multi-core parallel processing for flow engines

Flexible Modeling Approaches

Visual MODFLOW Flex allows you to choose which modeling approach to use for building your groundwater models. Choose the flexible and efficient conceptual modeling approach or the classical modeling approach.

Conceptual Modeling Approach

  • Build your 3D conceptual model using existing GIS data and wells/boreholes. The grid-independent conceptual model gives you the flexibility to experiment with different grid types and simulators. Cell locations and parameters are automatically calculated for you, reducing the need to define these manually on a cell-based level. From one conceptual model you can easily generate multiple numerical models of different grid types and modeling scenarios, and easily update or modify the model as needed.
    Learn more »

Classical Numerical Modeling Approach

  • Ideal for models with simple geology, basic properties and boundary conditions, the classical approach allows you to start by defining the numerical grid. The grid can then be manually populated with properties and boundary conditions using traditional techniques.

Integrated 3D Conceptual and Numerical Groundwater Modeling

Visual MODFLOW Flex provides a seamless transition from raw data through conceptualization to the numerical model all within a single intuitive modeling environment.

  • Define complex geology and model layers using borehole log data and cross-sections
  • Interpret GIS data to define hydrogeologic properties and boundaries independent of the grid
  • Run, analyze, and validate model results with raw data in 2D, 3D, and cross-section views
  • Easily create multiple conceptualizations; generate numerous grids and model scenarios in parallel all in a single project
  • Assess uncertainty though comparing heads from multiple model runs in 2D, 3D or chart views

White Paper

Groundwater Modeling White Paper

A Unified Modeler’s Workbench
Workflow-Driven Conceptual
and Numerical Modeling
Download »


Integrated Conceptual and Numerical Groundwater Modeling


Visual MODFLOW Flex Videos


View all videos on the SWS YouTube channel

System Requirements

Visual MODFLOW Flex System Requirements

Visual MODFLOW Flex requires the following minimum hardware configuration

Hardware Requirements

Operating Systems

Windows 8
Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate
Windows Vista Business, Ultimate or Enterprise (SP2)
Note: Windows XP operating system is not supported.


32-bit or 64-bit

Hard Disk

500 MB


2 GB (4 GB or more recommended)

Networking Hardware

Network Card (required for soft key licensing)

If you intend to work with large models (est. > 500,000 nodes), it is recommended that you use 64-bit version of Visual MODFLOW Flex, and increase your RAM (recommended 10 GB or more).

Software Requirements

The Visual MODFLOW Flex installation package requires the following software configuration:

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0

Microsoft Office (2000 or later). If you do not have Office, you must install the Microsoft Access Database Engine.


Visual MODFLOW Flex Pricing

  Basic Professional Premium
Commercial Standalone License (USD) $1595 $3795 $5495
MODFLOW-2000, 2005, NWT* a a
MODFLOW-USG (UnStructured Grids)      
ZoneBudget a a a
MODPATH (Particle Tracking) a a a
Enhanced 3D Visualization a a a
MT3DMS, RT3D* a a a
Local Grid Refinement (MODFLOW-LGR)   a a
Conceptual Modeling   a a
Multiple Grid Types   a a
Compare results from multiple model runs   a a
Modeling Scenarios in a project Just one Unlimited Unlimited
Build and run bigger models (Native 64-bit Support)   a a
3D Animation and Movie Generation   a a
PEST   a a
PHT3D*   a a
SEAWAT*   a a
MGO*   a a
MT3D99*     a
SAMG     a
FEFLOW Model Generation (.FEM file)     a


* Features only available from within the accompanying Visual MODFLOW Classic Interface. Learn more »

Already have a license and looking to upgrade to the latest version? Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for upgrade pricing.


Visual MODFLOW Flex Support Resources


Frequently Asked Questions
Visual MODFLOW Flex User's Manual (PDF)
Visual MODFLOW Flex User's Manual (Online)
Visual MODFLOW Flex ReadMe

Step-by-step Tutorials

View all Visual MODFLOW Tutorials

Blog Articles

The SWS Groundwater and Environmental Technology Blog is home to a variety of technical articles, announcements and regular updates from the developers of Visual MODFLOW Flex.

View all Visual MODFLOW Flex articles on the SWS Groundwater and Environmental Technology Blog

White Papers & Technical Articles

Local Grid Refinement in Visual MODFLOW Flex
A Unified Modeler’s Workbench: Workflow-Driven Conceptual and Numerical Groundwater Modeling
A Review of Finite Difference Grid Types
Case Study: Integrated Conceptual and Numerical Modeling Chemwest Industrial Site

Visual MODFLOW Users Group on LinkedIn

Join the growing online community of Visual MODFLOW users on the LinkedIn Visual MODFLOW Users Group. Now with over 1000 members, it is one of the biggest online groundwater modeling groups on the web. Membership is free and only requires a free LinkedIn account.

Visit the Visual MODFLOW Users LinkedIn Group

SWS Software Technical Support

Schlumberger Water Services hallmark reputation is also based on our unparalleled product support after the sale, and our unwavering commitment and loyalty to our customers.

Contact SWS Technical Support

Worldwide Visual MODFLOW Flex Users

  • GCS