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What Is Geostatistical Software?

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  • Written By: Solomon Branch
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2014
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Geostatistical software is used to perform a multitude of calculations done within geostatistics, which is the analytical and mathematical study of geological or geographical phenomenon. The software can calculate large mathematical formulas quickly and efficiently, thus making geostatistics capable of a wide array of functions. This software is used for a broad range of calculations, including calculating movements of a particular landmass and predicting the spread of diseases within a specific geographical area.

Geostatistics were originally used in the mining business to predict where certain types of ore would be located. The statistics not only allowed more accurate drilling, but they also saved considerable time and money. Geostatistics are now used in a variety of industries and fields primarily geology related, but also in other fields that requires use of data pertaining to movement through space-time. This includes the geology of petroleum, primarily used by oil companies, forestry, geography, and studies done in the ocean, such as the study of dolphin migration. Nearly any large scale occurrence on Earth can be geostatistically analyzed.

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In order to be effective and reliable, geostatistics has to utilize a broad range of predictive and analytical data. Many models are created that can relate possible outcomes, taking into account a multitude of factors. Analyzing and calculating all this data can be extremely difficult as well as time consuming. The geostatistical software allows these measurements to be possible, and in many ways is what allows geostatistics to be a pragmatic discipline. If the software weren’t available, much of geostatistics would be worthless due to the huge number of calculations required.

Much of the geostatistical software is available as open-source, meaning it is free and can be modified. Most of the packages include some of the more commonly used algorithms built-in. In addition to specific algorithms, geostatistical software can also calculate probabilities, create data models and graphs, and correlate data. The most commonly known of this type is the geostatistical software library (GSLIB), which was developed at Stanford University. It was written in the Fortran computer language and contains around 80 basic commands, and many of the current software programs are based on this model.

The advantage of having open-source software is scalability. While many of the basic functions needed to calculate geostatistical information are included, some fields of study require more specific types of calculations to be performed. The open-source code in most of the geostatistical software is modular, meaning it can have other functions added on to expand its usability, making it usable in a variety of geostatistically analyzed fields.

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