RockWorks 2006

Software review by courtesy of IGWMC and CSM
Clint Carney, P.G.,
Nebraska Public Power District, Sutherland, NE
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

RockWorks 2006, the latest version of subsurface visualization software from the Golden, Colorado-based RockWare, Inc., provides a large array of tools useful for site characterization in many earth science disciplines. For geologists, hydrogeologists, and geophysicists involved in water-resources investigations, the software package is particularly applicable for developing hydrostratigraphic models that facilitate construction of groundwater flow and transport models.

RockWorks 2006 provides centralized borehole database management in the Borehole Data Manager  window. From this interface, borehole data, including lithology, stratigraphic contacts,geophysical data, geochemical measurements, fracture information, and groundwater levels can be used to create maps, cross sections, fence diagrams, single or multi-log plots, as well as three-dimensional surface and solid models. Other capabilities useful to water resources investigations are available in the RockWare Utilities window. This interface facilitates creation of contour maps of water levels and drawdowns, as well as Piper and Stiff diagrams. Utilities include statistical analyses andcontrol of display options.

In addition to visualization of the subsurface for conceptual model development, RockWorks 2006 provides useful ways to create grids that can be used for modeling. For example, solids models created in RockWare can be exported as ASCII XYZ files, which can then be imported intovarious ground water modeling interfaces for defining model units and layers. Waterresource investigators will like the new Well Construction interface. This addition allows for detailed well construction information to be stored in adatabase format. With this data, RockWorks 2006 can be used to plot well construction diagrams alongside 2-D and 3-D strip-logs, allowing the user to identify the formation or lithology accessed by the screened intervals. Well features such as screen depth and length, casing length and construction materials can be included in the well construction diagram. 

Several enhancements have been made to the 2004 version in order to generate RockWorks2006. One of the major enhancements is the Access database format now implemented for storage and management of boreholeinformation. This new format increases the userís ability to query borehole information, and link data from various tables within the database. Checks on data integrity within the database have been improved (for example, checks on consistent layer elevations). The Access format in RockWorks does not require Microsoft Access to be installed for operation of the software. The option to import and manipulate data in a spreadsheet format is still available. The tool layout for creating borehole strip-logs has been improved and the edit capability in the 2006 version allows for editing of all graphics created in RockWorks. In addition to the export capabilities for grids, RockWorks 2006 now has more user-friendly options for exporting data to AutoCad and ArcGIS programs. RockWorks 2006 comes with an extensive help menu and several tutorials that help introduce the new user to the major features available with the software. The RockWare website ( provides further options for technical support.

The software can be purchased online at, or via telephone order at (800) 775-6745. For customers in Europe, contact RockWare Europe at or call +41 91 967 52 53.

Rating System
5=Excellent, 4=Very Good, 3=Good, 2=Satisfactory, 1=Poor

Subsurface Visualization, Borehole Database Management, Stratigraphic Modeling
Best Feature
The wide array of options for presenting borehole information with superb graphics
Worst Feature
Lithology model inteface window


Overall Rating