Low-cost, Yet Effective Applications and Applets

Title: Low-cost, Yet Effective Applications and Applets
Author: Kristine Peterson
Publication: The Outcrop, July 2010, p. 14-15


Hearing Dr. Blakey speak about GeoMapApp software at the recent one-day RMAG paleogeography short course got me wondering what other useful low-cost and no-cost software was available to increase our productivity by helping with the usual and not so usual tasks we face. To find out, I polled around 25 RMAG members via email, collected the responses, which ranged from data, file and datum projection conversion to file viewing, paleogeography and water data management. I also added some notes of my own.

Data Conversion

MHA Convert is MHA Petroleum’s unit-conversion software, available as a free download from MHA Petroleum’s website. MHA Convert (6 MB download) can be found at: http://www.mhausa.com/index.php/resources/software

Also available for free is MHA P3, which is MHA Petroleum’s properties program, designed for fluid and rock property correlations. The 17 MB file can be downloaded directly from: http://www.mhausa.com/index.php/resources/software

“Be aware that the programs offered are as is with no guarantees” cautions Gean, MHA Petroleum Consultants. Additional information on the above software can be found at: http://www.mhausa.com/index.php/resources/software

Datum Projection Conversion, Topo Clipping, etc.

Global Mapper received more responses from the respondents than any other software. The Global Mapper application is useful for datum and projection conversions, exporting grids and images to PETRA, creating maps, as well as 3D visualization.

The program is generally versatile and user friendly, allowing import and export of many file types, and is especially useful with raster data. For example, in just a couple of minutes one can use the “Clip Collar” function to clip topos, merge multiple topos together, re-project them into another datum, and then save them as a geotiff for your mapping software.

Global Mapper 11 is available for free trial or purchase at: http://www.globalmapper.com. Single licenses cost $349, with a bulk deal of $299 for 2-19 copies. As Charles Stickler noted, “This product is one of the most versatile and cheapest raster and vector software programs on the market.”

File Conversion/Screen Capture

Software995 offers the ability to transform any file into PDF. Simply open the file in its application and print to the Pdf995 printer. What would have printed on paper is now a fully PDF compatible file. The software is free, but displays a sponsor page in your web browser. The sponsor pages can be removed for a $9.95 charge. Additional information, as well as the printer drivers (2.5 MB download) for the Pdf995 virtual printer, can be downloaded from the Software995 website: http://www.pdf995.com/download.html.

Snaglt 10.0, produced by Software Casa, allows a user to take a very precise snap shot of any portion of the screen. You can add arrows, text, or highlights, to the image, and even do some cropping. The user can either paste into any document or email, or save it to an image file. Currently. $48.95, Snaglt 10.0 can be downloaded from http://www.softwarecasa.com, where additional information is available. Donna Hanson finds the program useful for “snagging your map from your mapping software and dropping it into a Powerpoint presentation without having to go through an export process.”

Scooter Software has a program that allows you to compare not just any two files of any kind for difference, but entire directories as well! This is probably why they call their product Beyond Compare. Beyond Compare Version 3 (5.5 MB download) is available at http://www.scootersoftware.com for a 30 day trial, or for the purchase price of $30 per user.

IrfanView can open literally any image type, including animated gifs and multi-page tiff images. This software is ideal for looking at logs. You can adjust the resolution of the image and save it out to just about any image format that exists. Named after its Austrian author, Irfan Skiljan, in Europe, you can download IrfanView at: http://www.irfanview.com. The download is free for non-commercial use. Commercial users can request pricing info from: irfanview@gmx.net.

Log Analysis/Pickett Plots

There are many high priced programs that perform complete environmental corrections with many different saturation models. However, what if you want to make some fast Pickett plots that are presentation quality or perform a “quick look” analysis and do not have digital data? PfEFFER PRO can do the job. PfEFFER is a useful tool that can import LAS files but also allows data entry to be “typed” in as it is built on Microsoft’s Excel. You can quickly generate a “Super Pickett” plot for one well or multi-well data sets, which display lines of equal Bulk Water Saturation on the normal Pickett presentation, a feature I have never seen on any other software.

The spreadsheet layout makes it easy to add other saturation models, porosity formulas, etc. to the canned offerings. The application is interactive, so the user can “play” with different M and Rw values, while watching the changes displayed in real time. The examples in the extensive manual are also a great introduction to log analysis.

PfEFFER Pro., (Petrofacies Evaluation of Formations for Engineering Reservoirs) was developed by the University of Kansas end is available from http://www.kgs.ku.edu/software/PfEFFER-java/ at a cost of $350 plus $7 shipping.

Tif File Viewing

Bill Rodgers reports, “I think Weatherford’s log view software is the best I’ve seen for working with Tif files. Although it was designed to view Weatherford’s data formats, it actually converts the proprietary data to a TIF format and then displays it on the screen, therefore, it will display any TIF file.”

The program can display multiple logs in one window, rotate all of the viewed logs simultaneously, reference to a depth at horizon, annotate and pick tops. Further, logs can be printed side by side. MJ Systems rasters must first be decompressed using a program such as Irfanview.

The Preview 11.00.1327 program is available for free at: http://www.weatherford.com/Products/Evaluation/DataServices/PreView/eval_PreView.


Iapetus is a free application for Iphones and Ipod Touches that Ron Blakey mentioned in his paleogeogrephy short course. Ira Pasternack reports, “I saw a brief demo of it on Ron’s IPhone and it is pretty cool—shows animated paleogeography through time-as plates move around.” It is available from the iTunes website: http://www.appstorehq.com/iapetus-iphone-80320/app

Water Data Management

For water data management, AqQA, by RockWare, creates Piper, Stiff, Ternary and other water analysis displays. A free trial is available, or a license can be purchased for $249. For more information, visit: http://www.rockware.com/product/overview.php?id=150. Cat Campbell notes, “This is one that I use a lot for water data management. It really helps show aquifer interactions and is very easy to use.”

If you have a favorite free or low-cost program, please drop RMAG an email and we will post it in future issues. Thank all of you who responded to my email.

[Web editor’s note: Some of the links in this article may no longer be valid, and some software may be out-of-date or not longer available.]