Best Software for 3D Geological Modelling

In this post, we discuss the best software for 3D geological modelling, resource estimation, and exploration geology. There are many software packages tailored for today's exploration, mine, and resource geologists. If you're just starting out in the mining industry, it can be hard to differentiate between them and make an informed technical and commercial choice. Whether you're a junior mineral exploration company or a seasoned geological consultant, we're going to introduce some of the products that have helped mine gold in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and iron ore from the riches of Western Australia's Pilbara region. We'll also outline the key benefits of each 3D geological modelling software package.

Seequent's Leapfrog Geo software - from 2D GIS maps to 3D geological models

Top 3D Geological Modelling Software Packages

1. Leapfrog Geo

Overview of Seequent's Leapfrog Geo 6.0 3D geological modelling software

Leapfrog Geo is a 3D geological modelling software program made for geologists, by geologists. Its intuitive workflows, rapid data processing, and visualisation tools bring geology and mining teams together – and enable the discussions that drive mining decisions.


An intuitive interface
Leapfrog Geo offers tools crafted for the geologist and logical workflows that save time and frustration, as well as shorten training times.

Domain modelling
Build complex geological models rapidly from drillhole data, structural data, points, polylines, and meshes in the project.

Isosurface modelling
Easily build isosurfaces from drillholes and point data. See visual trends in the data and continuity in surfaces. Advance understanding with rapid first pass visualisation of patterns in numeric data.

Being able to rapidly visualise in 3D brings clarity and understanding to even complex data.

Block modelling
Easily build block models in 3D and keep them up-to-date.

2. MineScape Geology

Overview of Datamine's MineScape Geology 2021 3D geological modelling software

MineScape Geology is is a suite of integrated solutions designed for open cut and underground mining operations for coal and metalliferous deposits.

MineScape Geology delivers extensive geological modelling and mine design functionality, making it a leading mine planning solution globally. It is is used at more than 200 of the world’s most complex mining operations - from nickel phosphate mining in Russia to coal mining in Indonesia.


Input data
Includes drill hole collar and downhole survey, detailed downhole lithology logs, geophysical and geotechnical data, sample dispatch, coal quality and washability and assay data. Standard CoalLog files import is supported.

Data validation
Provides extensive validation tools including numeric range, dictionary code, downhole and stratigraphic and rule checking. Modification of data is checked for interval consistency and validity before being applied.

Audit trail
provides a full audit trail that tracks database changes and edits as required.

Graphic log display
Allows the rapid generation of graphical lithological logs and geological cross-sections and profiles in either a 2D or 3D space.

Quality compositing
Allows compositing of ply samples across a geological unit, such as a coal seam or a user-defined working section.

3D cross-plots
Simultaneously displays three analytical values. Cross-plot graphics can be analysed in MineScape, plotted, or transferred to Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.

3. Micromine Origin

Overview of Micromine Origin 3D geological modelling software

Micromine Origin equips exploration geologists with comprehensive, flexible and powerful tools to target and assess prospective regions more efficiently. Integrate, validate, interpret and communicate critical mineral resource data with state-of-the-art geological tools spanning from early exploration through to resource evaluation.


Elevate your experience
Advanced technology that lets you focus on geology with user-friendly, intuitive, streamlined, organised and customisable functionality.

Built for big data
Rapidly load, edit and visualise large datasets using a powerful graphics engine that can effortlessly handle more than 15M spreadsheet rows and 10M data points.

Cut the conversion time
Avoid the long and risky file conversion process with compatibility for 70+ file formats from over 25 common industry software solutions.

Expansive GIS capabilities
Stay in one solution with all-inclusive GIS tools such as coordinate conversion, polygon assign, string and point utilities, connections to online imagery, contouring, and annotation.

Rapidly transform results into reports
Impress project stakeholders with stunning 3D and 2D annotated project visuals using an easy, intelligent and flexible plotting environment, and purpose-built chart presentation tools.

4. GEOVIA Surpac™

Dassault Systèmes' GEOVIA Surpac 3D geological modelling software

GEOVIA Surpac™ is an integrated 3D geology, resource modelling, mine planning, and production software package developed by Dassault Systèmes.


Comprehensive tools
Including drillhole data management, geological modeling, block modeling, geostatistics, mine design, mine planning, resource estimation, and more.

Easily customized to adapt to changing needs.

Ability to seamlessly share skills and project knowledge across teams and departments.

Time saving
Increased time savings with compliance to company-specific processes.

Consistency of execution using task automation.

Data efficiency
Reduced data duplication with file format support of popular GIS and CAD systems.

Integrated production scheduling with GEOVIA MineSched™ tactical mine planning software.

Multilingual support
English, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and French.

5. Vulcan GeologyCore

Overview of Maptek's Vulcan GeologyCore 3D geological modelling software

Vulcan GeologyCore is Maptek's new kid on the block in the exploration and geological modelling space. Previously marketed and offered as 'Eureka', and now taking its name from Maptek's flagship product, Vulcan, Vulcan GeologyCore offers geologists the best features from its flagship product, Vulcan, Vulcan GeologyCore offers a much more streamlined approach to geological modelling than previously offered.


Simple workflow from data to model
Manage data validation across multiple files and avoid complex specification setup whenever changes are made.

Rapid model generation
Update resource models daily or more frequently, instead of quarterly or annually, to avoid bottlenecks.

Repeatable, non-destructive process
Test scenarios by editing domains and see dynamic model updates before committing to changes.

Improved productivity
Rationalise the geological workflow for easier assimilation of new staff and higher focus on analysis and interpretation.

Access to cutting-edge techniques
Take advantage of cloud-based machine learning modelling methods for rapid processing.

Process to suit your needs
Select the appropriate modelling method to suit databases or mining projects.

Honourable Mention


Overview of Golden Software's Surfer 3D digitisation feature

Surfer, developed by Golden Software, is one of the most powerful (and sometimes underappreciated) 2D and 3D geological modelling software packages on the market. Used by geoscientists from a wide range of industries, Surfer offers mine geologists, resource geologists, and engineering geologists an invaluable set of features.

Surfer has come along way since its humble beginnings as a data gridding package. While standing amongst giants here in this article, Surfer can confidently deliver JORC- and NI 43-101-compliant geological models and resource estimates, and is particularly suited for mineral target definition and feasibility stage exploration projects.

Given its ease-of-use, competitive pricing (including more than generous student discount), and unmatched documentation and technical support, Surfer should be among the go-to tools for undergraduate geologists and junior mineral exploration company executives alike.


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