Introduction Design principles R & D G-EXEC format Datamine formats VMine formats G-EXEC Contacts

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT


VMINE is a member of the 4dcoders consortium

VMine core system development will be all new. It will include new code to allow import from DM single precision files, and will support the new VMDD/VMDA file formats (and VMX for data transfers). For graphics, it will support the SVG, JPEG, GIF, VTK, and VRML export formats. The processing capabilities will include functionality for open-world database management, with supporting utility programs.

VMine applications development will start from a solid base of stable Fortran applications code which has stood the test of time, much of it from G-EXEC, some from third-party developers, and much of it tested over the years by inclusion within Datamine. The intellectual property rights of all parties will be respected.

New applications will be developed in areas not currently covered by 'mainstream' geological/mining software vendors. In particular these will include nonparametric and other experimental and non-standard 2D and 3D modelling applications, and innovative approaches to exploration statistics.

There are significant innovations in developing VMine:

  • Once it is sufficiently robust, it is possible that VMine could be made available over the Internet as a so-called 'cloud' solution (SaaS = 'software as a service'). This means that for the user it is truly platform-independent as it can be accessed worldwide through any Internet browser. No special software need be installed, and there is no applications software for you to maintain. Graphics, whether two or three dimensional, will be accessed through standard formats using publicly available viewing software. Interactive graphics may be implemented via standards such as WebGL, through VRML browser plugins, or through stand-alone software such as Geo_reka implemented locally on your own computer. For the first time ever you will be able to use full-function geological and mining software even from a smartphone, and from anywhere in the world that you have Internet access!

  • Although continuing to use relational tables, for data transfer these are no longer in the obsolescent DM files, but using the more efficient VMINE formats with choice of external interfaces ranging from CSV files to an industry-standard XML format based on the ideas in this paper. A description of the XML-standard VMine VMX file is given here. Within VMine, a new simplified random-access binary file format will be used, with data definition held in an accompanying sequential ASCII header file, maintaining the underlying principle of the self-describing relational table.

  • All graphics from the system will be produced in industry standard formats: 2D plots using SVG, JPEG, and GIF, 3D output using VRML2 and VTK formats, for which a variety of free virtual reality viewers are available.

This product remains in an early stage of development. What is made available currently is 'proof of concept'. Data may be uploaded and imported into the system from Datamine (single or extended precision) files or in csv format. Full documentation of the VMINE data formats is made available so that users and other software developers may also upload and download 'native' VMINE data tables. All follow the same principles of the 'self-describing file' relational tables originally developed for G-EXEC in the British Geological Survey in the 1970s, and later adapted for use in Datamine.

For more information, please email me at (to foil spammers this is just a graphic - you'll need to type the email address).


1None of the programs to be built into VMINE products will be software that is covered by DATAMINE copyright: it is all either newly developed code, or was developed personally by Stephen Henley (i.e. not as part of Datamine during the tenure of his director's service with MICL), or is third-party or public domain software. Some of the application software is adapted from G-EXEC and the copyright of this is owned by the Natural Environment Research Council. G-EXEC source code was made freely available in the 1970s and supplied free-of-charge to academic, governmental, and commercial users around the world.