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I am a student and initiating a thesis project for MS specialize degree in geophysics... I am working on tectono - stratigraphy of some area and want to do the 3D subsurface modelling of the same area but have lesser idea, besides am unable to get some proper guide on this too but since i love doing this I want help plzz... as far as i have studied 3D analyst is not very much suitable for this job yet "may be" used in thesis... but i, again, have lesser idea of how to work it out...

thx a lot jakub n mike... im pleased to hear from u guys... :) well, undoubtedly the leapfrog is excellent software n so is its price the other way around..! & since I am a student and my university will never do the job... crappy, right... anyways I suppose I can try a request to the companies to allow me use some beta version or so n in return I can give them a copy of my thesis n stuff if they ask for... :) some companies in Pakistan are using petrel as far as i know... but I was more interested to do it using GIS based software... & am hopeful to get through it somehow & the question is still same, how... :P

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This might become a good/interesting question after some serious editing, but right now it just seems unfocused and lacks prior research. Do you have a thesis statement? –  blah238 Oct 18 '11 at 18:08
This question may help: gis.stackexchange.com/q/7249/162 –  julien Oct 19 '11 at 7:34
Commit to this SE site to get it into beta and you might get some help there as well... –  Chad Cooper Oct 19 '11 at 14:42

3 Answers 3

3D Analyst can visualize existing models exported from other applications as 3D DXF but it's very difficult (if not impossible) to create subsurface geology solids in ArcGIS.

Geological 3D modelling software = VERY expensive (But that is not a part of your question)

My personal favorite for subsurface modelling and 3D interpolation is Leapfrog Mining by Aranz in New Zealand. The software is very polished and aimed at "Accelerated Geological Modeling". The features are very intuitive what this software can do is simply "jaw-dropping". (so is the price of the software unfortunately)

Leapfrog ships with a manual, tutorials, reference guide and tutorial data and I must say that the tutorial is very well written. According to the tutorial you should be able to go trough it in 6 - 8 hours and cover most of the features. Personally I needed a lot more time but I went trough it in detail.

There are other options: Geosoft uses voxel gridding to create solids but it's not its main focus

Gemcom GEMS allows you to digitize geological formations, define trend, etc and generate solids that are based on interpretation and knowledge of data rather then interpolation.

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u had been great help jakub... :) –  sunshine786 Oct 19 '11 at 12:47

I agree with Jakub's points, generally that ArcGIS's 3D Analyst is not good for creating subsurface geology solids, and that there are no "free"/open source options. Prices generally start at a few hundred $ and go up to close to $1M. Ask about education discounts.

Here are a few other software packages that are used by me or my colleagues:

  • Petrel, integrates nicely with seismic data, very expensive (aimed at oil & gas exploration)
  • EarthVision, can do complicated modelling of faults
  • GMS, mostly for groundwater model construction, possibly too simple for serious 3D modelling
  • GSI3D, non-profit software developed by the British Geological Survey, €300 for a student

This is, by all means, not a comprehensive list, as there are many other software packages out there.

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thx a lot jakub n mike... :) im pleased to hear from u guys... :) –  sunshine786 Oct 19 '11 at 12:33

You can build 3D Geological Structural and Property Models using Mathematica. I developed these scripts to make geological modelling available to a wider audience. Mathematica also works with many GIS and CAD formats. This makes it easy to construct models using information from multiple sources.

Further details are available on the UNSW Connected Waters web pages. https://www.connectedwaters.unsw.edu.au/resources/articles/3dmappingdatabase.html

You can download a tutorial example from here: http://library.wolfram.com/infocenter/Conferences/7457/

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