How To Export Diagrams From RockWorks16 Into Google Earth

Two new videos showing how to export diagrams from RockWorks16 into Google Earth have been uploaded to YouTube.  The short version is 2 minutes and skips all of the “how-it-works” information.  The long version is 12 minutes and provides a description of what goes on “behind the scenes”.

Please note that these videos do not cover the EarthApps portion of RockWorks which directly exports to Google Earth.  Instead, these videos show how to export existing 2-D diagrams (maps, profiles and sections) from RockPlot2D and 3-D diagrams (logs and block models) from RockPlot3D into Google Earth.

Short Version:

Extended Version:


New Video Using Multi-Seam Coal Data to Demonstrate RockWare Command Language (RCL) Scripting

New Video: Using the RockWare Command Language (RCL) to Automate Cross-Section Generation

New Version of RockWorks16 (2013.8.8) Available

Click here to download ...

Click image to download latest version.

Master Directory of RockWare YouTube Videos

The YouTube playlists have proven to be somewhat cumbersome, so we have created a hyper-linked master index that makes it easier to find content.  Check it out …


RockWare YouTube Video Index URL:

Exporting Lithologic Surfaces to DXF

As RockWorks view the world, lithology materials are not necessarily layered – they can repeat within a single borehole and may be inconsistent in sequence across the project area. As such, RockWorks uses a solid modeling process, rather than surface-modeling, to create lithology models, with the 3D nodes or voxels assigned a material type and represented in the 3D viewer as color-coded blocks.

RockWorks software: Lithology Model in RockPlot3D

Lithology Model in RockPlot3D

This presents a challenge, then, for users who wish to view lithologic SURFACES as plan-view contour maps, or in 3D, or exported to CAD.

In RockPlot3D you can access the lithology model’s Options window and filter the display for the desired material type, or range of types. Here is the above model filtered to display the Soil voxels only.

RockWorks software: Lithology Model Filtered for Soil Only

Lithology Model Filtered for Soil Only

This can be exported to DXF, but note that you’ll be getting all of the blocks representing that material. (Shown here in black and white for contrast purposes.)

RockWorks software: Lithology Model Soil Voxels Exported to DXF

Lithology Model Soil Voxels Exported to DXF

If you need a surface rather than blocks, RockWorks also has tools which will fit a surface to the uppermost elevations or the lowermost elevations of a rock type in a lithology model. These are in the Lithology | Superface (Top) and Subface (Base) menus. Here is an example of the same soil lithotype extracted as a surface (upper elevations), and displayed in RockPlot3D and then exported to DXF.

RockWare software: Surface Representing Top of Soil

Surface Representing Top of Soil, Displayed in RockPlot3D

RockWare software: DXF Surface Representing Top of Soil

DXF Surface Representing Top of Soil

Calculating the Volume of a Stratigraphic Unit within a Polygonal Boundary

A customer recently sent this inquiry to our support staff:
Q: Can I calculate the volume of a stratigraphic unit within an outline that doesn’t match the model extents and is not square?
A: There are a couple of ways to do this.
First, create a Polygon Table in your project database (see the Misc. Project Tables in the Project Manager) that represents the outline of the area you’re interested in.  You can hand-enter the XY coordinates into the Polygon Table, paste them in, or even draw a polygon in RockPlot2D onto a map and save those coordinates to the Table.  Then, here are some options:
1. Isopach Grid Model, Automatic:  Use the Stratigraphy / Stratigraphic Thickness / 2D menu option to interpolate a thickness grid for a selected formation (it does this by gridding the formation top and base, then subtracting the base surface from the top surface). BE SURE to activate the Save Grid Model option and assign the thickness grid model a name (e.g. formation_a_thickness.grd).  Then clip this grid model using your Polygon Table (Utilities Grid / Filters / Polygon Clip), setting the filter type to Exterior with replacement=null.  (e.g. formation_a_thickness_clipped.grd). You can turn on the Create Grid Statistics Report option, and the volume of the grid will be displayed at the bottom of this report:
Cell Area .............................. 100.0
Map Area (X*Y) ......................... 738,000.0
Grid Area (Sum(Cell Area)).............. 755,300.0
Model Volume (Sum(Cell Area*Z)) ........ 5,493,616.411554  *
Non-Zero node area ..................... 119,600.0
2. Isopach Grid Model, Manual:  If you don’t want the program to reinterpolate the formation top/base to generate the isopach grid (e.g. you already have top and base surfaces that you’re pleased with), you can use the Utilities Grid / Math / Grid & Grid Math tool to subtract your existing base surface from the top surface, generating a thickness grid.  Then clip this model with the polygon and generate the report, as described above.
3. Solid Model:  You can create a solid block model (MOD) of your surface-based stratigraphy model by running the Stratigraphy / Model option and activating the Save Numeric Model option and entering a name (e.g. strat_solid_model.mod).
NOTE: if you don’t want to re-interpolate the stratigraphic surfaces – you want the program to build the solid using your already-interpolated grids – be sure to turn OFF the Interpolate Surfaces option.  Then RockWorks will just build a block model of your stratigraphy.
ANOTHER NOTE: How well this block model will represent your stratigraphy surfaces (and how good the volume computation will be) will depend on the vertical node spacing defined in your project dimensions.  If you have skinny units, be sure the vertical spacing of the nodes is tight enough to represent them to your satisfaction.  Generally surface-based computations will be more accurate.
Here’s a surface-based strat model (left) and a voxel representation of a solid stratigraphy model (right), for your reference:
Once you have the solid strat model generated, you can clip that solid model using a polygon which represents the outline (Utilities Solid / Filter / Polygon Clip), replacing the nodes outside the polygon with null (e.g. strat_solid_model_clipped.mod).  Then, you can use the Stratigraphy / Volumetrics Based on Solid Model option to generate a report from that clipped model.
Or you can simply view the clipped model in RockPlot3D as a voxel model, adjust the viewing filter for a specific unit, and see the volume there.