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  • Frans Basson

GEM4D Version available for download

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

Version is a major update with interface changes and long-awaited functionality additions such as Surpac DTM-support, Boolean functions, more legend colours and mapping additions. Many thanks for the feedback from users, and specifically the contributions from KdP, LH, RT, EZ, LC, DG, EH, TP, RS, JG, CH, HE, ND, PF, KB, GS, DH, JW, DR, JL, MS, TL, AT, JD, SW, TK and MP.

New functionality

  • Updated version of the graphics engine - please update the graphics drivers for your screen card.

  • Add support for Surpac DTM-files under "Ribbon => Mesh => Load DXF and Surpac files => Surpac-files". GEM4D supported Surpac STR-files for a while now, but the DTM support is new. The Surpac-files are directly loaded into the scene (similar to DXF-files), but any changes have to be saved as DXF-files.

  • Add "Top toolbar => Discs icon => Best fit mapping discs", which creates a single mapping disc from mouse selected mapping data. The orientations of the picked mapping data are recorded, and a single disc is generated for the best fit orientation and size - see "Discussion 1" below.

  • Add "Top toolbar => Cross swords icon => Bool (top three buttons)" which adds Boolean functionality - see "Discussion 2" below.

  • Add more colour options than the default "Rainbow" option when colouring meshes - see "Discussion 3" below.

  • The Marker/Mapping filtering was expanded to also include filtering data which is within a specified distance from a mesh with "Ribbon => Marker => Marker filters => Manual => Relative to meshes". In the selection form displayed, place a value in "Distance", or leave the default as "-1" to ignore the distance during filtering.

  • Add an in-scene scale-bar and made improvements to the coordinates grid-widget, see "Tabs to the right of the form => Grid => Grid type". The scale-bar is only visible in parallel-view mode, so I added a "Parallel view" checkbox next to the option for easy access. The grid is also most useful for screenshots in parallel view mode and "Grid lines in front of scene" ticked ON.

  • Add "Ribbon => External => Conversion => LaLoCon (Lat/Long)" which converts latitude and longitude coordinates to your local mine coordinate system from two known coordinate pairs. All that is required is two matching pairs of latitude/longitude and Easting/Northing for the local coordinate system. After the conversion is calculated once, the transformation can be saved and loaded when required for the particular site. This allow for the direct conversion of GPS-coordinates from Android/iPhone mapping apps such as GeoID.

  • Add "Top toolbar => Blue toolbox icon => Clean closed mesh objects" which cleans closed meshes of internal triangulations - this functionality is currently limited.

  • Add "Ribbon => Settings => Number objects" which allows changing the number of Marker/Mapping/Geotech objects that could be displayed as 3D-shapes. The default is points, which are not limited. Previous versions limited the number of objects to 5000 in the 32-bit version, and 20000 in the 64-bit version. These are still the default values but can now be changed if required.

  • Improvements were made to the Open Inventor file import which now supports more versions "Ribbon => Mesh => Import files => Other formats => Open Inventor (IV)".


  • Interface changes - see "Discussion 4" below:

  • The quick toolbar to the right was moved to the left side.

  • Complex actions at the bottom of the screen was moved to the right.

  • The quick toolbar that used to be on the left was removed, and the buttons they supported changed to work as fast-select buttons from the top toolbar.

  • The selection form when creating iso-surfaces and colouring meshes from Marker-data was changed to a floating form.

  • The logic when repairing holes in meshes were changed and does not combine objects into a single object any longer.

  • The camera orientation widget was moved from the top toolbar to "Ribbon => Settings => Camera settings".

  • When a screenshot is taken with the graded background, the background colour is automatically changed to white. The background colour can be changed by pressing the "b" keyboard button, which cycles through graded, black and white. The background colour could be changed to any colour with "Ribbon => Settings => Background colour => Select colour".

Bug fixes

  • When creating density grids, the program occasionally froze - fixed.

  • Marker/Mapping filtering did not always correctly filter the data - fixed.

  • The orientation drill hole information did not always display correctly - fixed.

  • "Top toolbar => Extract mesh boundary and edges" did not extract the boundary in the latest version - fixed.

Discussion 1: "Average" mapping disc from picked mapping data

Creating mapping discs in GEM4D was always easy with "Top toolbar => Discs icon => Create mapping disc", and the discs could be created from one or many pick points. The less the number of points, the more information about the map disc is required. For example, 3 points fully define a plane, so picking three points will create a disc based on the pick locations, as sized according to the distances between the points.

Create map discs by mouse picking on objects

An additional option is now added to the list "Best fit mapping discs", which works different from the previous disc creation options. For this option, mapping data already needs to be loaded with "Ribbon => Mapping => Load files => Text (CSV)". The picking is now done on the mapping points, the orientations of the picked mapping points recorded, and a disc is created based on the best fit orientation.


Discussion 2: Boolean functions

The outcomes from Boolean functions are dependant on the polygon orientation of a mesh. A polygon has only one visible side, but graphics software typically show both sides as visible to limit visual confusion. The visible side of a polygon is important when Boolean functions are used.

Switch off the invisible side in GEM4D by checking "Ribbon => Mesh => Mesh settings => Backface culling". The visible side of the polygon can be swapped with "Ribbon => Mesh => Mesh settings => Flip poly normals".

Boolean functions

Discussion 3: Mesh colouring options

In previous versions of GEM4D, the colour scale was fixed to rainbow colours, but new options were added to this version and a custom option is in the working. See below the difference in distance between two meshes with the different colour options.

  • Top-left image: green is no difference, blue is behind the design mesh, and red is in front of the design mesh.

  • Top-right image: grey is no difference, black is behind the design mesh, and white is in front of the design mesh.

  • Bottom images: white is no difference, red/coral is behind the design mesh, and blue/teal is in front of the design mesh.

Colour options drop-down box
Different colour legends for distance between meshes

Discussion 4: Interface changes

The quick toolbar to the right was moved to the left side, and the "Complex actions" at the bottom right of the screen (next to the charts) moved to the right side of the form.

"Complex actions" moved to the right of the screen

The quick toolbar that used to be on the left was removed, and the buttons they supported changed to work as fast-select buttons from the top toolbar. When the mouse cursor move over these three buttons, the drop-downs automatically activate and allow for fast selections. To activate the form with choices, select the "Selection form" menu item - see the top image of this post.

The top toolbar buttons that behaves differently to the other buttons

The selection form when creating iso-surfaces and colouring meshes on Marker-data was changed to a floating form. The floating form shows up when either the "Iso-surface" or "Colour meshes" check box is checked, and allow changes on the fly. Press the "Update iso-surface and mesh colours button" after changes were made in the floating or the main forms.

Floating form when creating iso-surfaces and colouring meshes

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