Mining University

Numbered Views in Maptek Vulcan

Today we were working on designs in two different parts of the pit that were far apart from each other. I wasn't the one running the mouse and watching someone else zoom in and out to pan from one end of the mine to the other was making me queasy. This reminded me of a tool in Vulcan that I don't use as much as I should: Numbered Views.

The Numbered Views setting in Maptek Vulcan saves the zoomed extents shown in the Envisage window. You can set up to nine views which is more than I have ever been able to keep straight. To use the option zoom and pan the Envisage view until the first view is centered on the desired section of the displayed layers. Next press Shift + 1 to set the Numbered View. Now, when the number '1' is pressed the Envisage window will return to this view. Additional views can be saved using the numbers 1-9. Previous versions of Vulcan only saved these views for the current session of Vulcan. Now, however, the views are saved more permanently so you can go back to the same view every time Vulcan is used. 

Maptek Vulcan Extents Problem

I was having dinner with some friends tonight and, being the nerds that we are, conversation turned to work and Vulcan software. The crux of the conversation was Vulcan errors that we had all made. One mistake seemed more prominent than others.

In my time supporting the Vulcan software, both with Maptek and even after, one common mistake eventually confuses most new users of the program. The extents mode creates a fundamental change to the way that Vulcan is displayed and most people don't even know how they turned it on let alone how to turn it off.

What happens is this:

The user thinks that a word processing program is the active window on their computer but in reality Vulcan is the active window. As they begin to type the buttons they press aren't creating words in a sentence, they are activating hotkeys in Vulcan. Most of these hotkeys activate things that are rather innocuous (a timer since last refresh or a rotation dial) but eventually the 'E' button (the most used letter in the English language) is pressed.

The 'E' hotkey activates the extents mode in Maptek Vulcan. This puts a box around the extents of every object on the screen. There are often so many box lines on the screen that it is difficult to see anything else.

Because the user doesn't realize what created the error, they have no idea how to turn it off. I have had people approach me in a panic over this and it is so easy to fix.

Next time your Envisage window blows up with thousands of boxes and random lines, try pressing the 'E' key.

Independence Day 2014

Colorful Fireworks a.k.a Burning Metal from a Mine near You
Colorful Fireworks a.k.a Burning Metal from a Mine near You

Happy American Independence day everybody. This July 4th remember that while you are looking at your favorite fireworks display you are really looking at the results of a lot of mining work. The colorful explosions of each firework are really burning metal that some miner pulled out of the ground to make your holiday a little brighter.

For a little enlightenment on the subject, Wikipedia's Fireworks page lists the following colors and their accompanying colors:

  • Red - Strontium, Lithium
  • Orange - Calcium
  • Yellow - Sodium
  • Green - Barium
  • Blue - Copper
  • Azure - Cesium
  • Violet - Potassium, Rubidium
  • Gold - Iron
  • White - Titanium, Aluminum, Beryllium, Magnesium