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Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.

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Under the Hood: Geosoft Technical Strengths

With more geoscientists looking for powerful, comprehensive software to simplify diverse and multifaceted exploration and earth investigation projects, Geosoft's Oasis montaj has come into its own. Once known as specialized software for tackling complex, large volume earth data challenges, Oasis montaj is now widely used to minimize data chores and maximize results across the geosciences, in government, education, mining exploration, oil & gas and environmental agencies.

Geosoft is valued for its robust technology, strong workflows, streamlined mapping and visualization capabilities and ease of use - for even the most difficult data processing, analysis and visualization challenges.

The Customer Perspective

I've found Geosoft to be very helpful for converting data into other formats. I haven't come across any format that it can't handle.
Geosoft is committed to being a leader in format compatibility. We support over 50 data, grids, maps and image formats. Users can convert grids and images to several supported data formats, including ArcView, MapInfo, ER Mapper and TIF. Application-specific imports and exports are available for geochemistry, drill-hole, unexploded ordinance (UXO), induced polarization (IP), radiometrics, airborne geophysics and gravity data. Software plug-ins and data conversion options provide superior connectivity between montaj mapping software and GIS or specialized applications.

Out of all the recent improvements, I'm getting a lot of value from all the new 3D functionality in Geosoft.
As the sub-surface data specialists, we've always been known for creating beautiful maps of geophysics and geochemistry. We've recently invested in expanding our 3D functionality, and have also taken it to the ArcGIS platform. Being able to visualize all available data, geology, geophysics, geochemistry, in one 3D environment is a Geosoft advantage.

What I like about Geosoft's data processing tools is that you don't have to be a data specialist to use them proficiently.
Earth exploration should be about creation of knowledge from data and not processing data. Our workflows and processing engine quickly and easily handle the toughest multidisciplinary data. Our rapid processing ability is the result of 20 years of developing and fine tuning workflows and algorithms through user and industry feedback.

We work with large volumes of data, and have found Geosoft to be the only product that can work at a high level of proficiency. It's very fast, precise and delivers great results.
Handling BIG data on SMALL computers is a Geosoft specialty perfected over 20 years. Our software includes a 64-bit memory manager that runs inside Windows to provide the 20 to 80 GIGs of memory you might need to process your giant data sets. Our memory manager automatically allows our programs to allocate the large quantities of memory they require. Other features in our software include Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP), and the ability to use special instructions such as MMX and SSE.

Geosoft Technical Brief

At Geosoft, we have specialized in developing the technology required to drive integration, visualization and understanding of multidisciplinary datasets within the geosciences. We have always understood the need for, and unique challenge of, building knowledge and creating better interpretations from large volumes and diverse types of earth data.

Over the past twenty years we have developed powerful productivity tools for geoscientific data access, analysis, mapping, and 3D visualization. We provide comprehensive technology solutions, which simplify everyday workflows. Here we look at some of the technology that allows our software to work so well - a peak "under the hood" of Geosoft software.

A scalable, high-performance database.
One major key to our data experience is the performance of our Geosoft database, GDB. This is where we store point data. Our GDB has become a standard for the storage of high volume geophysical data. Our database can store and handle over a billion points of data per channel per line. That makes it easy for geoscientists to process, integrate and visualize their data at each stage of your project lifecycle. Most people do not need to handle this volume of data most of the time, but there is comfort in knowing it will easily handle all data requirements, when needed.

Fast and stable data storage
Our Geosoft Database (GDB) technology was developed to support the data collected in airborne surveys. Airborne survey operators collect millions of high-resolution readings during every flight line. They generally record this information in lines containing data channels (X, Y and instrument data). To add to the requirements, different instruments record data at different rates. Typical geophysical processing requires the creation of numerous additional columns of the newly filtered or corrected data. We worked to optimize that experience. Our developers innovatively discarded the use of SQL databases and the SQL record based data model, and put the data directly into a column based model rather than rows. This allows Geosoft software to process the information directly from the columns and results in the processing productivity our users have come to expect.

A Geosoft Database is a binary object/data store that can store more data, and make that data more accessible, than any other product on the marketplace today. It stores all numeric data in binary form, and also supports UNICODE, to ensure that you can store and handle special characters for all languages. We added compression to our database format to greatly reduce the amount of storage space required by data. This has enhanced the performance of data access. Most modern computers can handle compression much more quickly than they can read or write data to hard drives.

One other reason that our GDB has become a standard is that it is very stable. When you change, edit, delete or modify your data, you can commit or discard changes to keep your data accurate without worrying about losing information in case of a system failure. We also create a backup our internal GDB index to ensure the data stored in a GDB remains accessible.

Dynamic linking of multiple data views
Our dynamic linking feature provides the ability to highlight a single sample and see the position of that sample on other maps, on the GDB profile viewer, on scatter plots, ternary plots and on 3D views. As much of the geoscience data is subsurface, we also link on the vertical position. Our drill hole software will track positions down the bore holes. This feature allows geoscientists to interrogate data quickly and efficiently, edit interactively, dynamically interact with their data and evaluate potential target selection quicker and more efficiently.

Under the hood, this linking is accomplished by an internal messaging system. When you highlight a sample location in the database it sends a message to the maps to move the cursor to the current sample location. For maps the X and Y location is sufficient to link points. However with some types of geochemical samples, there may be many grains located at the same location. To ensure we can distinguish between these samples, our messaging system also includes a Line/Fiducial.

On the fly projection
Geosoft's advanced projection engine provides on-the-fly projection, and can handle over 2000 datums and projections. Our dynamic linking feature will work with multiple maps and databases in different projections.

BIG data on SMALL computers
Our database can store up to 64 Terabytes of data in a database, and up to 1 Gigabyte of data within a single channel. To efficiently run this much data on an ordinary computer, our developers have come up with several innovative ways to improve performance.

64-bit memory manager
The 32-bit computers most people rely on need up to 4 GIG of memory to run on Windows and can allocate no more than 2 GIG of memory to any single program. This would be completely insufficient to work with the quantities of data required by the mining and exploration sector. To provide the 20 to 80 GIGs of memory required to process the giant data, Geosoft software includes its own 64-bit memory manager that runs inside Windows. This memory manager automatically allows our programs to allocate the large quantities of memory they require.

Support for Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP)
Users who upgrade from a computer with one CPU to a system with two CPUs on one chip (also known as a dual core computer) are often disappointed to discover they aren't getting more processing power. Most software runs no faster on a dual core than a single core system. The reason is, that despite their higher cost, software needs to be specifically designed to use more than one CPU on a dual core computer.

Geosoft has engineered parts of our software to support Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP). It detects all your CPUs, and spreads the work evenly among them. We've specifically upgraded the most time intensive processes, such as FFT and 3D gridding, to support SMP. To let you know when all your CPUs are engaged, the progress bar turns red and the SMP icon appears.

Other CPU optimizations
Several of our processes use special instructions such as MMX and SSE, which are available in Pentium 4 processors or better. These instructions process multiple data values simultaneously, which doubles or quadruples the speed of many number-crunching processes.

Interested in more information about Geosoft software? See our Products.