I've been struggling to find a good software package for drillhole data management, subsurface geology modelling, and visualization (both 2D and 3D): something that can also be used to produce sophisticated vertical and inclined cross sections. I took the Gemcom GEMS course and found the software too complex (database setup, plotting) and rigid. It's also astronomically expensive. I evaluated Target for ArcGIS by Geosoft using their tutorial and data and found it lacking features, buggy and slow. (Dumbed down version that works with ArcGIS.) As I was to evaluate the full standalone version of Target I stumbled over a recommendation for Rockworks by RockWare. The videos on their site look amazing. Too good to be true to be honest. I would like to read some unaffiliated reviews of the software but am having a difficult time finding anything valuable. Can someone please provide a link a share a few thoughts about the software package?
I've had a bit of experience with Rockworks (ver. 14.0) and am not incredibly impressed with it. While it's fairly easy to get data into the system, generating any kind of presentation quality (let alone publication quality) diagrams was extremely unintuitive. I gave up and drew the few cross-sections I needed by hand. I also came to realize that the cross-sections that Rockworks did produce were not 3D correct - when I compared locations where two sections intersect, the structural surface elevations did not match.
Recently, a colleague of mine who is re-developing a regional framework for the Floridan aquifer introduced me to Leapfrog Hydro (formerly Aranz Hydro). He is a big proponent of this software, though he hasn't been using it very long himself. According to him, it is more intuitive to use, very robust, and is 3D correct when outputting cross-sections. I believe you can make 3D animations with the software as well.
I haven't had a tremendous amount of experience with either of these pieces of software so please take my words with a grain of salt. However, from what I've seen and experienced I would recommend looking into Leapfrog before Rockworks.
@Jakub We haven't been collecting reviews, but here are some from Google.
http://www.swhydro.arizona.edu/archive/V6_N2/dept-softwarereview.pdf (same review in publication Southwest Hydrology, March/April 2007.
@whuber Thanks for fixing my sig block faux pas.
RockWare has released RockWorks15 with an overhaul of the user interface that makes the program easier to use. You can download a full working model demo from the RockWare web site.
As a follow-up to Tom Breshahan's comment; (1) I am a RockWare employee (geologist/programmer) so I'm obviously biased. (2) We released RockWorks16 on 7/1/13. (3) We have made over 1,446 changes since the release of RockWorks14 (detailed list: http://www.rockware.com/rockworks/revisions/index.html) (4) You can download the full program and use it for two weeks without paying anything thereby allowing a side-by-side comparison with other products. (5) I apologize for not directly answering the question - our user testimonials are also biased and that's why I recommend a try-with-your-own-data-before-you-buy evaluation.
I've been using Rockworks since the early DOS days. Granted, it may not produce the prettiest graphics output or be the most robust system for resource modeling, but for casual, or entry-level earth science application, it has a lot of bells & whistles. Where these are located is not always intuitive, but their help files are extensive--not to mention their online support, which I would rate among the top.
Often you will be wanting to use Rockworks in conjunction with some other software--depends what your needs are. Someone mentioned Leapfrog as an option. From what I heard and seen, it is very good at 3-D renderings, however--a bit pricey. If not purchasing a full-blown license, I believe you can "rent" it on an hourly, daily, etc. basis.
As an alternative to Leapfrog, I use Voxler, developed by Golden Software I believe. Very intuitive, good extensive help manual as well as online support. And a price that won't break the bank.