Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is RockWorks industry-specific?

A: RockWorks was designed with numerous geological industries in mind: environmental, geotechnical, petroleum, and mining to name a few. It offers many generalized subsurface visualization and modeling tools, as well as some that are more industry-specific. For example, well construction diagrams may be used primarily by environmental/geotechnical users, while raster logs and the stratigraphy picker tools might be used more by those in the oil and gas industry. Shallow environmental data lends itself to lithology modeling, while deep petroleum wells will focus on stratigraphic layers. Mining users will probably enter quantitative measurements as "I-Data," while O&G users will enter geophysical measurements in the "P-Data" tabs and environmental users would enter monitoring well data as "T-Data."

For this reason, this documentation tends to be fairly generic in its terms. We refer to drilled holes in the ground as "boreholes" even though some of you would prefer the words "well" or "drillhole" or "hole." "I-Data" replaces "assay" or "geochemical" measurements, and "P-Data" replaces "elog" or "geophysical" measurements. Our apologies in advance for insulting any sensibilities.

Project Coordinates and Output Dimensions

Q: Why do I have to establish the Project Coordinates?

A: A huge improvement introduced in the last few versions of RockWorks involves coordinate systems and units. The program can now accept data in different coordinate systems and units while automatically converting this data to user-specified output coordinate systems and units. This new capability requires some additional steps when setting up new RockWorks projects and datasheets:

Here are some of the benefits:

Q: Why do I have to establish the output Dimensions?

A: RockWorks needs to know the desired output coordinate system, as described above. In addition, it relies on the output Dimensions to know how to scale many of the diagram items, even things like text size. Also, the output extents and node spacing will be applied to the grid models and solid models that RockWorks interpolates; by establishing the dimensions in one central place, all models will be the same size. This is important if you do any model comparisons or filtering. (More info)

Q: Where do I establish the output Dimensions?

A: The Dimensions are part of the Project options, at the top of the program window. Use the small "-" button below the RockWorks logo to expand the Project options pane.

To set the grid & block model dimensions you can type them into the prompts, or (easier) click the Scan Datasheet button (to set the extents based on data in the Datasheet) or the Scan Boreholes button (to set the extents based on the data in the Borehole Manager). The dimensions window is also available from within all of the program options windows where maps, grid models, or solid models are created. You can use the Import and Export buttons to save/load dimensions sub-sets. (More info)

Q: Why does my multi-log 3D diagram display all of my logs, even those that are outside my grid & block model Dimensions?

A: The Dimensions settings define the extents of grid and solid models the program interpolates. By contrast, 3D log displays are confined bywhether a borehole is enabled or not. You can use the View menu's query tools (Filter Boreholes, Select Boreholes) to enable/disable boreholes based on location and many other criteria.

Q: How do I re-label the map/project units?

A: If you created your project with your horizontal and vertical units as meters but now realize that the depths actually represent feet, you can change the labeling (without changing any of the data) by expanding the Project Settings pane ("-" button in the top-left of the program window), clicking the Coordinates tab, and choosing the Reassign option. Your input units may be mixed (XY in meters and Z in feet), but your Output Dimensions cannot be for the purposes of display, computing volumes, etc. - you'll need to choose either feet or meters for the 3D project space.

Similarly, if you set up your project thinking that the locations represented State Plane feet but discovered that they are UTM feet, the Project Coordinates | Reassign option will let you change the coordinate system labels as well.

In the RockWorks Datasheet, you can change the labeling of the columns by right-clicking on the column heading you wish to edit and selecting the desired coordinate system in the Column Parameters window.

Q: Can I reproject my data coordinates?

A: Yes. If you wish to convert the actual borehole data from one coordinate system to another and/or convert the units from/to meters/feet, expand the Project Settings pane ("-" button in the top-left of the program window), click on the Coordinates tab, and click the Reproject option. If you wish to convert coordinates listed in the Datasheet, you can use the Coords | Coordinate Converter menu option to convert a single coordinate pair or a listing of XY coordinates. If you want to convert coordinates in a map displayed in RockPlot2D, choose the RockPlot2D Utilities | Convert Map Coordinates menu option. If you want to convert coordinates in a scene displayed in RockPlot3D, choose the RockPlot3D Utilities | Convert Coordinates menu option.

In the Borehole Manager, be sure to re-establish your Output Dimensions - the actual numbers - based on the new coordinate value range.

Q: Can I work in just a portion of my project space?

A: Yes. You can create Subsites in your project to disable boreholes outside that area and load those grid & block model dimensions. (More info)

Data Questions

Q: Why does RockWorks show a new-project wizard when I try to open my RockWorks16 or RockWorks15 project folder?

A: Because of the new database setup (starting in RockWorks17), your RockWorks16 project will be copied into a new project folder, and the database updated to the new SQLite format. You will need to use Windows Explorer to manually copy any grid models, solid models, graphic files, or other contents of the RockWorks16 project folder into the new folder. (More info)

RockWorks15 users will go through a similar process of creating a new project folder and updating the database. Program-generated grid, solid, and graphics files will need to be updated to the new format using the companion Conversion Tool program. (More info)

Note that the steps for working with an older project (RockWorks2006, RockWorks14), are slightly more complicated (More info).

We generally recommend keeping your RockWorks20x project folders in the "RockWorks Data" folder (in My Documents) to keep them organized.

Q: Why do I see none of my boreholes when I open my project folder - I know I have an borehole database there.

A: RockWorks assumes the database (SQLite or MDB) file containing your project data has the same file name as the folder in which it resides. For example, if you open the "Smith Project" folder, the program will look for an database file named "Smith Project.SQLite" (or "Smith Project.MDB" if you have chosen this format). If it does not find such a file, it will create a new, mostly-empty one, where you can add your data. If your project database file has a different name than its project folder, you should close RockWorks, use Windows Explorer to browse to that project folder, and change the SQLite file's name (or MDB file's name) to match the folder name. Then when you restart RockWorks and open that folder, the database file will be loaded automatically. (More info)

Q: Why does RockWorks create a database in the project folder when I'm working only in the RockWorks Datasheet?

A: Though the RockWorks datasheets are stored as text-based ".RwDat" files, a project database is also created in each project folder for storage of accessory tables (polygons, color contour levels, etc.) and for output dimensions.

Q: How do I set up the column titles, types, and units in the RockWorks Datasheet?

A: You have a few options:

Q: Do I need to have SQLite installed on my computer to run RockWorks?

A: No. Though RockWorks defaults to storing data in a SQLite database, you don't need to have anything installed separately to run the program. The behind-the-scenes database components are installed with RockWorks. (More info)

Q: Do I need to have Access installed on my computer to run RockWorks?

A: No. If you want to use MDB for your project databases, you don't need to have Access installed. Most of the behind-the-scenes database components are installed with RockWorks. However, note that there may be some drivers that you need to install, depending on the version of Windows you have, and the version of Microsoft Office you have. (More info.)

Q: Do I have to list my stratigraphic formations in order, in the Stratigraphy Types Table?

A: If possible. For stratigraphic modeling it's really important that the formation names are listed in the Stratigraphy Types Table in order, from the ground downward. The Table uses the entries in the "Order" column to sort the formations. RockWorks will rely on the geological order of the units in order to model them properly. (More info)

You can leave your Types table un-ordered if you simply want to create log-based cross sections (no modeling) - see the Stratigraphy Rules.

Q: What do I do when a unit is missing from a borehole?

A: You can omit the formation name from the data listing, you can set it to zero-thickness (with the depths to top and base set to the unit above and below), and/or you can use the Stratigraphy Rules to tell the program to make some inferences regarding the missing data. The appropriate method to use will depend on the amount of data you have, whether the presence of the formation is necessary to pinch it out, etc. (More info)

Q: Do I have to list my lithology material types in order, in the Lithology Type Table?

A: No. Unlike Stratigraphy, which has a defined sequence, the order in which lithology rock types are listed in the Lithology Type Table is not terribly important. In fact, you can sort the table based on name (alphabetically) or on the G value. What IS important in the Lithology Types table is the G value assigned to each rock type. It is that value which will represent the material type in solid models you interpolate. (More info)

Q: How can I copy and paste into my Borehole Manager data tables?

A: Even though the Borehole Manager data tabs look like spreadsheets, they are not. They are a row-and-column display of data that's actually stored in a database table. While you can type into the data tabs, just like you can with a regular spreadsheet, you cannot select a block of cells or copy/paste a block of cells like you can with a normal spreadsheet. However, RockWorks DOES offer a "Datasheet" button at the top of each table which lets you enter that data for that hole in a datasheet layout, with multi-cell-select, copy/paste, and other tools. When you close the temporary datasheet, you have the option of posting your changes back to the database or canceling the editing operations. (More.)

Q: How do I back up my database?

A: Use the File | Backup Database command to make a backup copy of your current project's Sqlite database, in a "Backup" sub-folder. This is a good thing to do before you import new data into your project, and as a periodic maintenance plan. If necessary, you can restore a backup copy using the File | Restore Database menu command. (More.)

! If you are using SQL Server or other network-based database, it's assumed that backups are occurring outside RockWorks. If you want to create a copy of your database for archival purposes (or to send to RockWare technical support) use the File | Archive Database to Text option. (More info)

Modeling Questions

Q: Why doesn't my Lithology model honor my log data?

A: You may need to adjust the density of your solid model, particularly along the Z (elevation) axis. If your lithology materials, for example, are recorded at half-foot increments but your Model Dimensions show a Z-Spacing of 5 feet, you won't get the resolution you need. Try decreasing the Z-Spacing of the nodes in the Dimensions pane. (More info)

Q: Why don't the minimum and maximum values in my interpolated I-Data, T-Data, or P-Data model match the minimum and maximum data values that I've entered?

A: This can be a tricky one. The two main culprits are the model Dimensions, and the modeling settings. For the former, be sure there's at least one node between each borehole (X and Y spacing no greater than half the minimum distance between essential control points), and be sure the Z-spacing is adequately tight for your downhole sampling interval. See the above Answer.

Re: modeling settings, you might want to experiment with different modeling methods (algorithms). Try turning on the Logarithmic option, which can help with interpolation of highly anomalous data.

Q: Why does my Lithology/I-Data/T-Data/P-Data/Fracture/Color model (fence, or cross-section) show colors above the ground?

A: As it interpolates your downhole Lithology/I-Data/T-Data/P-Data/Fracture/Color data, RockWorks creates a 3D solid model (aka "block model"). A solid model is an orthogonal 3D grid of regularly spaced nodes along the X, Y, and Z axes, and the nodes are assigned numeric values that represent lithology types, geochemistry or geophysical values, etc. To hide the nodes that lie above the ground surface, you need to generate a surface grid of the ground elevations, and then use that ground surface to filter the solid model, setting the nodes above ground to zero or to a null value.

In RockWorks, there a a number of ways to do this, depending on the level of control you need:

Q: Why is my lithology model all white?

A: One possibility is that you have white defined as the background color for all of the lithology patterns in your Lithology Types Table. It is this background color that is used to represent the material type in 3D representations of your solid lithology model (voxel display or fence diagram) since the 3D engine does not support display of pattern designs. (More info)

Graphics Questions

Q: How do I access a RockPlot2D or RockPlot3D or ReportWorks window so that I can open a saved map or diagram?

A: Use the Project Manager to open an existing 2D Diagram, 3D Diagram, or ReportWorks Diagram that you've already saved.

Or, in the main RockWorks program window, click the Plot2D or Plot3D or Report button to open a blank plot window, then use File | Open to open the existing file.

Q: Can I import raster images into RockPlot2D?

A: Yes. There are a number of ways.

Q: Can I edit my 2D graphics?

A: Yes. RockPlot2D includes the ability to edit the items in a RockWorks-generated map or diagram, as well as to add drawing items to them. Use the button to click on an item to move it, or to double-click on an item to edit it. Use the Draw menu tools to insert text, symbols, shapes, legends, images, scale bars, and more.

In addition, the Measure menu contains measurement tools (bearing, distance, perimeter, area). The Digitize menu allows you to capture point, line, polyline, and polygon coordinates.

Q: Why don't I see my rock type patterns in my 3D logs, 3D fence diagrams, or 3D models?

A: The RockPlot3D OpenGL engine doesn't support the display of the vector-type patterns that RockWorks uses in its 2D logs and stratigraphy sections. Instead, it represents the rock/material type using the background color defined for the material in the Lithology, Stratigraphy, Aquifer, or Well Construction Type Tables. For this reason, it's a good idea to vary the background colors and to avoid white backgrounds.

Q: My solid model is really slow to draw in RockPlot3D - how can I speed it up?

A: If you are waiting too long for the rendering of a solid model in RockPlot3D, you have a few options:

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