What is Geology Software?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Geology software is software which has been specifically designed for geological applications which can range from geology education to modeling conditions in mines to confirm that they are safe. A number of firms design this specialized software, providing a range of products for geologists along with support and regular updates to keep the software functional and useful. Such software can be designed for desktops and laptops as well as handheld devices used in the field. It can be quite expensive, reflecting the highly specialized use for which it has been designed.

High school geology classes may use software to run basic lab analysis.
High school geology classes may use software to run basic lab analysis.

Some geology software is designed to help geologists with modeling tasks, which can include contour models of natural landscapes, groundwater modeling, modeling of mines, and models of theoretical natural disasters. Using software, geologists can play with a number of potential scenarios and observe predicted results, and they can use this information to do everything from performing a risk assessment on a property being considered for development to helping a government develop disaster response plans. Modeling can also be used in mineral exploration to identify areas which are likely to be economically valuable.

Geologists may use simulation modeling software to determine how wind erosion created the crests and ridges of a yardang.
Geologists may use simulation modeling software to determine how wind erosion created the crests and ridges of a yardang.

Geology software can also be designed to help geologists collect, store, analyze, and present data. Large amounts of data can be difficult to examine in a meaningful way without the ability to organize and manipulate the data, and geology software makes this possible. For example, a geologist studying rock formations in the desert could use the software to log samples, describe conditions in various formations, and present the data in a way which will allow the geologist to make useful conclusions about the objects being studied.

Software is also involved in geochemistry, the study of the chemical properties of rocks. It can be useful for lab analysis and the processing of laboratory data, as well as the transmission of data between various points. For example, geologists could send data from the field to the lab using geology software, allowing people in the lab to collect real time information about what the geologist is doing.

Educators may also utilize geology software to do everything from getting elementary school students enthused about geology to developing models which can be used in college-level geology tests which ask students to explore the model and draw conclusions about it. Educational software can also be used to introduce students to the idea of using software in the practice of geology, allowing them to develop useful skills which make them more marketable employees when they enter the workforce as geologists.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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