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Géologique Empowers Clients with Strater and iGloo

Necessity is the mother of invention. When Deryk Forster, Principal Engineering Geologist and founder of Géologique, found himself and his team wasting precious time and energy using inefficient workflows, he decided to make a change. “We were spending an inordinate amount of time processing data, and I was unhappy with the cumbersome and expensive visualization packages we were using,” said Mr. Forster, “I knew there had to be a better way.” From this desire came a new data collection tool and a new visualization workflow that saved both Géologique and their clients significant time and money.

Géologique, a niche geotechnical services company, consults for the civil engineering and underground coal gasification industries in Australia and across the globe. With an ever increasing demand to do more with less, Géologique’s projects began to increase in complexity while the time permitted for data collection decreased.

Géologique assigned additional staff to projects to address the shortened project durations. Consequently, the data collected by different staff members varied which resulted in inconsistent datasets. To make matters worse, once the data was collected, the paper logs had to be manually entered into the database. A single hole could take as long as 20 hours of data entry before it could be analyzed by an engineer.

To solve these problems, Mr. Forster developed a digital data collection system, iGloo. iGloo is a geological and geotechnical field logging package that runs on Windows, Macintosh, or iPad. It ensures the consistent collection of data in a digital format.

iGloo limits the variability of information that’s collected. The limitations are carefully balanced to allow consistency while not restricting field staff from making additional observations. iGloo ensures anyone working on a site is prompted to make the same observations for each interval of material or core being logged.

iGloo also eliminates the need to manually enter data as the information is stored in a digital format. The collected data can be edited and manipulated within iGloo or exported to a spreadsheet. iGloo also automates error-prone tasks such as calculating RQD, core loss, or Lugeon Test Pressures.

Geologique data collection tool, iGloo
iGloo’s data collection interface operating on an iPad in the field.

To visualize the collected data, Mr. Forster recommends Golden Software’s well log, borehole, and cross section plotting software, Strater, to his clients. Prior to using Strater, many of Mr. Forster’s clients used complex packages that required a high level of training and expensive modules to achieve the desired output. Others used nothing at all. The Géologique team needed a visualization package that was durable, comprehensive, affordable, and required little training.

The decision to transfer client projects to Strater was relatively simple and was based on the low cost to make the move. The outlay for new Strater licenses was minimal, and there was a very short ramp-up time while the team retrained. Additionally, the spreadsheet data exported from iGloo can be directly imported into Strater for further analysis.

Golden Software Strater, well log and borehole plotting software
Log file of a Géologique geotechnical site investigation. Designed in Strater.

The Géologique team has been using and recommending Strater since 2012. The use of a standard package across multiple clients makes it easier for Géologique to interface with those clients. It also arms clients with a tool to inspect their data, even if the clients don’t have staff trained in the use of Strater. “Strater is intuitive,” said Mr. Forster, “Sufficiently so that anyone can open a Strater file and navigate their way around within a few minutes.”

Between the development of iGloo and the integration of Strater, Mr. Forster and the Géologique team have saved themselves and their clients significant time and money. “Since deploying iGloo to our clients, we average a saving of $10,000 per project in data entry costs alone,” said Mr. Forster. “Combine those savings with Strater’s cost savings, and we have some very happy clients.”

Exceeding expectations

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