Data Module previously known as the Scattered Data Module is used to interpolate spatial data values from groups of scattered data points or ordered grids to the other data types . SMS supports three interpolation schemes including linear, natural neighbor and inverse distance weighted. The module is also used to view and edit survey data . Interpolation is useful for setting up input data for analysis codes. Generally, the data gathered from a site to be modeled varies in density. Generating a finite element mesh directly from these points would result in a very low quality mesh. Further this data does not lie in a grid for use as a finite difference grid. Interpolation allows the gathered data points to be used as background information. The user may then generate a base mesh or grid in the Mesh Module, the Grid Module or the Map Module. The only consideration of bathymetry for such a mesh or grid would be the definition of element edges along geometric or property features. The actual bathymetry comes from the scattered data. SMS interpolates this data to the created mesh or grid points.
Interpolation may also be used to create data sets for one mesh from data related to another mesh of the same region. For example, a user may have a mesh of a river reach for which analysis has been preformed. If a bridge is to be added to the reach, the mesh topology changes. The data from the first mesh can be converted to a scattered data set and then interpolated to the second mesh. This data may be used as initial conditions for the second mesh, or compared to results of analysis run on the second mesh using the data calculator. A third purpose of interpolation is to create additional data sets from either observed, or calculated data.
Data modules provide a formal mechanism for collecting and encapsulating data set and data source objects, their attributes, events and code in one central location. Data modules can contain only nonvisual components and are generally used in database and web development.