First, my impressions of the new Google Earth functionality. Assuming you have lat and long coordinates for your borings, the process of outputting a KML file in gINT seems quite straightforward. They had a dialog box or two that let you tell gINT which table fields in your POINT table or elsewhere contain the appropriate lat and long values, and options for specifying an icon to use for the representation of your boring / well / test pit. It was just about that easy. The real power comes in when you utilize gINT rules to customize what information you want visible in the bubble when you click on the icon in Google Earth. This is how they put together some of the fancy information displayed in some of the screenshots, like links to PDF versions of the log, and other info. So if you’ve been putting off learning how to program gINT Rules, now may be the time to start learning. And I happen to know a good place to start learning the programming language used in gINT Rules, visual basic for applications or VBA!
Download a sample gINT generated borehole Google Earth KML file.
Other new features in the 8.2 upgrade include the ability to highlight cells depending on their values, a very nice looking new "tree view" as an alternative to the tabs for data input, the ability to use TIN files in addition to XYZ files for plotting profiles on fence diagrams, and the ability to store roadway alignments and use them as baselines for your fence diagrams and to compute station and offset…and a handful of other ones.
Perhaps more significant than these new features is the new approach that gINT Software is taking for the release of minor version upgrades. Longtime gINT users will be familiar with how they have released major upgrades (ie. v6, v7 now v8) about every 12-24 months. In between they have released updates to fix bugs, but those updates never really had any new features. Now, I understand that they plan to roll out minor version upgrades, like this most recent 8.2 update, that will contain new features as well as bug fixes. These minor version upgrades will be much more frequent than the major version upgrades and will be available for free for gINT Software VIP subscribers (their support plan). I believe the upgrades can also be purchased separately as well.
My company has let our VIP plan lapse, so I won’t be able to try out the new features for until we get that straightened out, but as soon as I do, I’ll post my thoughts and maybe a few more samples. I got the impression that this was just the start of Google Earth features in gINT, so I look forward to seeing what else they come up with in future upgrades. It would be need to be able to visualize some fence diagrams in GE, or maybe even 3D fence diagrams. Check out the neat Google Earth Model of the Large Hadron Collider (Image credit: Google Earth Blog). That kind of 3D modeling may be a little complex, I don’t know, but it’s a neat way of visualizing what’s going on below the ground surface…a problem we geotechnical engineers deal with constantly.