May 2012 | Mining University

My Maptek Vulcan Database is Locked ... by Me?

Maptek Vulcan has a procedure to lock databases when they are in use.  If you’ve ever used the software you’ve seen the green, orange or red locks on the database in the Vulcan Explorer.  The green lock means that the database is open by you and that you have read-write privileges to modify it.  The red lock means that the database is open by someone else and that you can load and copy layers from it but you can’t write back to the database.  The orange lock means that the database has crashed and should be recovered and unlocked.

Occasionally, you’ll come across a database that is locked, but when you try to unlock it you find out that it is locked by you.  It’s always funny when a new engineer or geologist sees this and thinks that they have done something wrong.  In reality, this is just an artifact of the crash that caused the database to be locked in the first place.  Fixing the problem requires a few short steps:
  1. Right click on the Taskbar at the bottom of your screen and select ‘Start Task Manager’
  2. Go to the ‘Processes’ tab
  3. Select envis_gui.exe (envis being short for Envisage and gui standing for the Graphical User Interface) and click ‘End Process’

That’s it.  Now when you try to unlock the database you shouldn’t have any problems, although you may want to press F5 to refresh the screen.

This issue is the result of the envis_gui executable being left running after a Vulcan crash.  It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes envis_gui.exe doesn’t get shut down as part of the crash procedure.  Restarting your computer will accomplish the same task (closing envis_gui.exe) but it takes longer.  Now you know how to unlock a Maptek Vulcan database that has been locked by you.

AngloGold Ashanti - Annual Report

I wish companies would give a little more information in the biographies of their senior leadership from the Annual Report.  AngloGold Ashanti’s CEO, Mark Cutifani, is listed as having a bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering.  There is no mention of what university he attended or of any mining activities he may have pursued prior to being COO of CVRD Inco, a job which he left to become CEO of AngloGold Ashanti in 2007.  The most personal thing shared in the Annual Report is that Mark is 53 years old.

Even Wikipedia has more information on Mr. Cutifani than the company is willing to share.  From Wikipedia we learn that Mark attended the University of Wollongong (what an awesome name for a university).  He also worked for Coal Cliff colliery, Kalgoorlie Gold Mines, the Western Mining Corporation, Normandy Mining and Sons of Gwalia before becoming COO of CVRD Inco.  Why are we having to rely on Wikipedia to tell us about the leaders of public companies?  This has got to be the absolute minimum required amount of shared information.

I do have to give credit to AngloGold Ashanti.  In addition to sharing a minimum of information about their board of directors, they also put together the absolutely, most confusing report of the compensation of senior management.  Thanks again for sharing information in a cryptic, and almost unreadable manner.

When to use Bit vs Byte

Our IT guy posted an article in the lunchroom the other day from (he's Canadian). The article reported on how the Tokyo Institute of Technology  broke the record for data transfer in the Terahertz band width.  Their transfer rate was 3Gbps which broke the old record of 1.5Gbps by, well, double.  The theoretical upper limit of data transfer for Terahertz wi-fi is 100Gbps.  I could totally go for 100Gbps wi-fi at my house.

It was at just this moment that somebody looked over my shoulder and commented on how fast 100 Gigabyte per second data transfer would be.  I didn’t bother to correct him, but it did make me realize just how many seemingly intelligent people don’t know the difference between Bit and Byte in this digital age.

The basic definition of Bit and Byte is so fundamental to our use of computers that we take it for granted.  Everybody who understands the difference, assumes that everybody else also understands the difference, so they don’t bother to explain it.  Everybody who doesn’t know the difference, uses the terms interchangeably and doesn't bother to ask.  This is not the first computer savvy person (Mine Engineers and Geologists included)  to mix up the terms and he won’t be the last.

The most basic definition of a Bit is that it is a single piece of information.  In electronics this is an open or closed circuit.  To illustrate this, think of a light switch.  When the circuit is closed, electricity flows through the wires and the light turns on. When the circuit is open, no electricity can flow and the light turns off.  This is the information stored in a Bit.  On or off.  Open or closed.

In electronics, we represent the closed circuit with a straight line ( | ).  The open circuit is a circle ( O ).  Sometimes these are combined into one symbol to represent power.  Look at your computer right now.  I bet this symbol is on the power button.  If you don’t see it there try your television or blue-ray player.  This symbol is all over the place in today’s world ( Φ ).

Computer people often talk about binary code being a series of ones and zeros. This is not quite accurate.  What they really mean is a series of symbols representing open and closed electric circuits.  They just look a lot like ones and zeros.

A Bit can’t store a whole lot of data (it can store two things, open or closed) so to make this storage format more useable we combine eight bits together and called them a Byte.  A Byte can store 256 pieces of information (2^8=256). 

In writing about Bits and Bytes we use the lower case letter ‘b’ to represent Bit and the upper case letter ‘B’ to represent Bytes.  Things like computer storage space are measured in Bytes (B) or kilobytes (KB) or Megabytes (MB) or Gigabytes (GB).  Things like data transfer and computer operating systems are measured in bits (b) or Kilobits (Kb) or Megabits (Mb) or Gigabits (Gb).  

Your 32 Bit operating system can address about 4 billion data locations (2^32=4,294,967,296) but because each data location is the address for one Byte, your maximum available RAM memory is about 4 Gigabytes.  Now that you know the difference between Bits and Bytes be sure to refer to your hard drive in Gigabytes (GB) but your internet connection speed in Megabits (Mb).

Mining Industry Promotional AD?

I'm thinking of putting together an ad for the mining and minerals industry.  Something along the lines of what the beef and milk industries have done.  There are few commercials as catchy and long lasting as 'Beef, it's what's for dinner,' or 'Milk, it does a body good.'  Why can't we have something like that for the mining industry?  We don't LIKE always being the bad guy, do we?

Beef, it's what's for dinner.

I found some great facts about minerals and economic growth from the National Mining Association's website Minerals Make Life.  What other things would you put in a mining promotional ad?  I'd like to keep it to 30 seconds (the length of your average television commercial) but since it's going up on the internet something up to about three minutes wouldn't hurt. What do you think?

Here are some other industry ads that I thought set the tone.

Milk, it does a body good.

The touch, the feel of cotton. The fabric of our lives.

The incredible, edible egg.

Pork, the other white meat.

Peabody Energy Corp. - Imminent Danger Order

On May 15th Peabody was  issued an imminent danger order by MSHA at its Air Quality #1 Mine near Monroe City, Indiana.  An MSHA inspector measured high levels of methane in one area of the mine.  Corrective measures were taken immediately and methane was restored to acceptable levels.  There is no report as to how long the mine was shut down for but any disruption to production is bad for the bottom line.

Other safety reports for Peabody Energy Corporation this year include:
April 13, 2012: Willow Lake Mine near Saline County, Illinois – excess methane.  
February 16, 2012: Caballo Mine near Gillette, Wyoming – missingelectrical cover plate.  This order was rescinded on February 17, 2012.
January 26, 2012: Francisco Underground Mine near Francisco, Indiana – violation of lock out policies.

Given the nature of the violations and the fact that none of the mines are repeat offenders in recent months it looks like this is a case of two entities doing their jobs well. Peabody and subsidiaries, mining ore and MSHA making sure they do it safely.

Happy Victoria Day

Happy Victoria Day to all the Canadian miners.

May the sun always shine on your ventures (even if you work underground) and may the government keep its hands out of your profits.

Overall Slope Angle vs Interramp Slope Angle - Revisited

overall slope angle

Two of the most confused terms in mining nomenclature are 'overall slope angle' and 'interramp slope angle.'  I have put together some pictures to help illustrate the difference between the two terms and when you would use each.

Overall slope angle refers to the angle, measured from horizontal, between the lowest toe point and the highest crest point inclusive of any ramps or additional step backs.  If you look at a mountain it is easy to see that the overall slope of the terrain goes from the top (crest) to the bottom (toe) (I have included a picture of a mountain above in case you have never seen one before). In some places the local slope angle will be steeper than the overall slope and in other places it will be more shallow.  In fact, in some places the line between the highest crest and lowest toe may pass through high spots in the slope.

The interramp slope angle is measured from toe to toe or crest to crest exclusive of any ramps (Slope Stability in Surface Mining; W.A. Hustrulid p48.  By excluding ramps or other offsets the interramp angle is kept static no matter how many benches are measured.  The interramp angle is similar to the face angle because it is static.  The figure below illustrates the terms overall slope angle, interramp slope angle and face angle as seen in a cross cut of a pit ramp.

overall slope angle, interramp slope angle, face angle

By definition, the overall slope angle changes depending on how many benches are measured.  The figure below illustrates this relationship.  When measured over two benches the overall slope angle (blue) is much steeper than the overall slope angle measured over 5 benches (magenta).  The overall slope angle becomes more shallow with each bench because each bench adds a fixed offset in addition to the offset due to the face angle.

overall slope angle decreases with each additional bench in height

The difference between overall slope angle and interramp slope angle was the topic of one of my first posts. You can see the original post at this link: Overall Slope Angle vs. Interramp Slope Angle

History of Europe

The history of Europe is a long and muddled affair.  This video doesn't convey all the detail of what happened and when but it does a great job giving an overview of events.  It suddenly makes it clear why everyone speaks half a dozen languages: their ancestors had to pass through three countries on their way to work in the morning.

I also wonder how closely related the history of mining is to the overall history of Europe.  Did the big wars require steel and tin and copper for weapons or were some of the wars for control of gold and silver mines?


AngloGold Ashanti Executives Exercise Share Options

The CEO and CFO for AngloGold Ashanti  have both exercised options to buy stock in their company.  CEO, Mark Cutifani exercised 65,293 options and CFO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan excercised 70,375.  These options were granted between 2007 and 2009 for each gentleman so they have been with the company for a few years now and have, presumably, added value to the company.  After selling shares to pay taxes and selling costs (that’s right, they sold shares to cover the cost of buying the shares) and using a conversion rate of 8.21285 Rand to the US Dollar, the Chief Executive Officer walked away with $1.67 million and the Chief Financial Officer made a cool $1.36 million.  Did these two individuals really add three million dollars of value to the company over the last four years?

Shareholders are obviously happy with the growth of the company or these gentlemen would not still be working for AngloGold, but do they know how much less I would be willing to do the job for?

Teck Resources – Reducing Child Mortality in Senegal

In partnership with the Micronutrient Initiative and the Canadian Government, Teck Resources Limited announced today that they will be part of a project to save children’s lives in Senegal.  Annually, 6,000 children in Senegal die from complications associated with diarrhea.  Zinc supplements and oral rehydration salts can treat diarrhea.  Teck’s Senior Vice President, Doug Horswill said about the partnership, “As one of the world’s largest producers of zinc, we recognize the ability we have to make a difference. Through this partnership with the Micronutrient Initiative, the Government of Canada and the Ministry of Health in Senegal, we will improve local awareness about zinc deficiency, enhance distribution systems and ultimately save children’s lives.”

I realize that Teck wouldn’t have put money into this project or released this press release if they weren’t looking for the good publicity and tax breaks that come with it, but I still have to give kudos to a company that is using something it actually produces in order to help people who need it.

How to pass the Professional Engineer Exam

When I took the Professional Engineer exam for Mining and Metallurgy there were a lot of things that I did, or intended to do, to prepare for the test.  Some of these things turned out to be more effective than others and some items that were ignored proved to be things that would have helped a lot if I’d done them.  Recently, I have had several mining engineers ask me about preparing for the exam so I thought I’d write my advice down and share it with everybody in one place.

The first thing I would suggest to anyone about to take the Professional Engineer exam is to attend the review course.  I know that this is a time commitment and a financial commitment but it is worth it.  SME offers a class on their Short Courses page. I think every state has a time requirement between graduating from an accredited university and sitting for the Professional Engineer exam.  Whether you’ve been out of school for the minimum amount of time (4-5 years) or are a seasoned veteran, you’ve forgotten some of the things you learned in school.  You can argue all you want that the things you’ve forgotten are unimportant, but the Professional Engineer exam is administered by the same type of people who asked you to learn those obscure things in the first place.  It is important that you remember as much of it as you can, at least for the test.

I think I would have failed the Professional Engineer exam if I hadn’t taken the SME short course.  I remember doing stoichiometry (doing mass balance on chemical equations) in school and I remember being at least moderately good at it but I hadn’t done any stoichiometry since graduation.  When they started teaching this part of the short course I realized that I didn’t even have a periodic table of the elements and wasn’t sure I remembered how to read it.  I found a number of stoichiometry questions on the actual Professional Engineer exam.  I would surely have failed them if I hadn’t had this review.

The second thing I would tell everyone preparing for the Professional Engineer exam is that they need a copy of the Mining Reference Handbook by Raymond L. Lowrie, PE.  This book can be purchased at any online bookseller like or at the SME Bookstore. I know that the book is expensive but it is well worth the price.  The Mining Reference Handbook was written to be used in the field by mining professionals so it doesn’t waste any time with theory.  It just tells you what you want is a succinct manner.  Almost every reference you could want for the test can be found in this book.

Perhaps part of the reason that the Mining Reference Handbook is so helpful is that the main editor, Raymond L. Lowrie, PE is the SME staff liaison for the Professional Registration Committee, the committee that prepares the mining/mineral Professional Engineer test for the NCEES.

Finally, I would suggest that you study for the test on a regular basis.  I wish I had followed this advice.  I procrastinated studying for the test until the day before it was to be administered.  In a final panic I took a day off from work and studied for the entire eight hours.  The studying paid off in the end when I passed the test but between the eight hours studying for the test and the eight hours taking it I don’t think that my backside will ever be the same.

Kinross Q1 2012 Earnings: Trying to Forget Red Back

Kinross Gold Corporation released its results for first quarter 2012 yesterday.  The company did its best to spin the results in a good light.  To be fair, there were several positive indicators to flaunt to shareholders:
  • Revenue is up 11% over Q1 2011 to $1,036,600,000
  • Attributable margin of $902 per ounce sold is up 15% from Q1 2011
  • Adjusted net earnings were up 16% over Q1 2011 to $203,100,000
Unfortunately, there were several items that weren’t as positive:
  • Production is down 6% from Q1 2011
  • Production cost of sales is up to $742 per gold equivalent ounce from $545 in Q1 2011
  • Reported net earnings are down $0.13 per share compared to Q1 2011

The Kinross press release also stated that the outlook for 2012 is good and the company expects to be within guidance for production of 2.6-2.8 million attributable gold equivalent ounces.  I don’t share this sunny outlook.

Kinross first quarter production was 604,247 gold equivalent ounces.  This is on target for 2.4 million ounces for the entire year (that’s less than the reported production of 2.6 million ounces for 2011).  This is also a company reeling from the  $2.9 billion write off for the Tassiast and Chirano assets they picked up in the Red Back acquisition.  Kinross attributes this write off in part to “increases in capital and operating costs, a decline in industry-wide valuations as at year-end, and the Company’s growing understanding of the Tasiast project parameters, including its analysis of a draft mine plan.” 

I didn't see any of the other mining companies write off three billion dollars.  Industry wide changes can't be the whole issue.  Was this really a three billion dollar analysis of a draft mine plan?

Rio Tinto Executive and Director Compensation 2011

In reading about the directors and executives for Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto: Form 20-F).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the CEO has an actual mining background.  Chief executive Tom Albanese has a bachelor’s degree in Mineral Economics and a masters in Mining Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  This is a far cry from most of the other mining companies whose CEO’s are accountants or lawyers and where the ‘mining experience’ comes from being the executive at some other mining company.  Let me tell you something, directors of mining companies, if your experience with mining included wearing a business suit and not a jump suit then your experience doesn’t count.  Mines are dirty places, Mike Rowe places, not Italian suit places.

Rio Tinto is suddenly my favorite mining company and Tom Albanese is my new hero.  Tom is the leader of one of the biggest mining companies in the world and he has a mining background similar to mine (to a point).  This is someone whose brain I would definitely like to pick. 

Mr. Albanese started his career in mining with Resource Associates of Alaska in 1981.  In 1993 he became manager of Greens Creek Mine with Rio Tinto.  His work as executive didn’t begin until 2000 when he was appointed head of the Rio Tinto global industrial minerals program.  Mr. Albanese was named CEO of Rio Tinto in 2007 (see

Executive Director Compensation
Tom Albanese - CEO: 8,620,000 pounds
Guy Elliott - CFO: 5,284,000 pounds
Sam Walsh – Chief Executive Iron Ore and Australia: 7,674,000 Australian dollars

Other Executives
Hugo Bague: 3,191,000 pounds
Preston Chiaro: 3,929,000 US Dollars
Bret Clayton: 4,656,000 US Dollars
Jacynthe Cote: 4,286,000 US Dollars
Andrew Harding: 3,741,000 pounds
Harry Kenyon-Slaney: 2,772,000 pounds
Doug Ritchie: 4,150,000 Australian Dollars
Debra Valentine: 3,861,000 US Dollars

Non-Executive Directors
Jan du Plessis – Chairman: 1,456,000 pounds
Robert Brown: 267,000 pounds
Vivienne Cox: 215,000 pounds
Sir Rod Eddington: 80,000 Australian Dollars (retired from the board in 2011)
Michael Fitzpatrick: 221,000 Australian Dollars
Yves Fortier: 102,000 pounds (retired from the board in 2011)
Ann Godbehere: 239,000 pounds
Richard Goodmanson: 261,000 pounds
Andrew Gould: 250,000 pounds
Chris Lynch: 65,000 Australian Dollars (appointed to the board in 2011)
Paul Tellier: 264,000 pounds
John Varley: 59,000 pounds (appointed to the board in 2011)

Executive Compensation for other Mining Companies:

Cameco - Management Proxy Circular
Gold Fields Annual Report 2011
Barrick Annual Shareholder Meeting
Kinross Compensation for Senior Leadership
Newmont Mining Corporation - Executive and Director Compensation 2011

Maptek Vulcan: Block > Advanced Reserves > Advanced Reserves Editor

The Maptek Vulcan Advanced Reserves Editor reports the contents of a Vulcan block model within a specific triangulation region or other criteria.  The Advanced Reserves Editor gives the user more flexibility than General Reserves (Block > Reserves > General) and can export the results in the familiar and user-friendly, comma seperated values (csv) format.  The following is an introduction to the Advanced Reserves Editor.

Advanced Reserves saves a specification file (extension .res) with all the user specified, panel settings.  This specification file is stored by default in the current working directory, however, this file can be saved in a remote location by browsing to the desired folder.  The Advanced Reserves Editor has five useful areas (Don’t bother with the reporting section Manipulating the results in Microsoft Excel is much more useful.)

The Design tab of the Advanced Reserves Editor panel allows the user to create or select a specification file and to select a block model file.  If the specification file entered does not exist, a new one will be created.

Under the Variables section, the most important subsection is Grade Variables.  This subsection specifies the block model variables to be reported, as well as the density to be used.  If both the density field and default density field are specified, the default value will be used for block model blocks that contain the default value for that variable, block model blocks do not have ‘missing’ values.

All other variable fields must have a 'type' field set.  Grade variables should be specified as a weight type (usually wt by mass), tonnage or dollar variables should have a sum type.  Either ‘Use Average’ or ‘Default for Missing’ should be set for each variable.  Generally, the ‘Default for Missing’ should be set to ‘0.’  Again, this is for those values which contain the variable default.  No block model variables have ‘missing’ values.  Don’t check the ‘Report Range’ checkbox.  It is so simple to get the range of values in Microsoft Excel that this checkbox is superfluous.

The remaining subsections under Variables (Breakdown Fields, Product Codes and Grade Cutoffs) break down the block model data by different criteria.  This is not a basic function and will be addressed later.  I will say that, if you have entered information in all three of those subcategories, you have probably done something wrong. Keep it simple until you have been through the panels several times.

In the Regions section you are defining the three dimensional space used for calculating reserves.  The Polygons and Centrelines sections both create triangulations on the fly based on specified CAD data.  You can also create and define your own triangulations.  These can be selected from the screen or by browsing to the appropriate folder.

The default setting in Block Selection is to ‘Select all blocks’ and ‘proportional cell evaluation.’  The option to ‘Select all blocks’ can be changed by using the block selection panel.  This is advanced functionality and will be addressed later.  If triangulations have been defined, there is usually no reason to use any other setting.

‘Proportional cell evaluation’ refers to how much of the block model block should be used, based on how it intersects with the triangulation region.  Blocks that fall completely inside or outside the triangulation are not affected by this setting but the blocks that intersect the boundary are.  With this default setting the proportion of the block model block that falls within the triangulation boundary will be counted toward the reserves total, the proportion that falls outside will not be counted.  The other alternative is called ‘Full cell evaluation.’  Using ‘Full cell evaluation,’ any block whose centroid falls within the triangulation boundary will count completely toward the reserves total.  Any block whose centroid falls outside the triangulation will not be counted at all.  Both ‘Select all blocks’ and ‘Proportional cell evaluation’ are the default settings because you want to use them in almost all scenarios. 

In the Save and Run tab you will want to click the ‘Save’ button.  If this specification file already exists the ‘Confirm’ panel will pop up.  Unless you want to save these settings as another file, go ahead and select ‘Replace.’  Next, you will want to check the box to ‘Output CSV file.’  I don’t know why this is not checked by default but if you want to use the file with Microsoft Excel you will want to check this box.  Finally, select the ‘Calculate’ button.  The calculation will spawn in a t-shell in a separate window.  Open the results in Excel and manipulate as desired.

Maptek Vulcan 8.1.4 64-bit: Dynamic Memory Settings

The release of Maptek Vulcan 64-bit has been one of the most anticipated events in mining software in a long time.  Users of Maptek Vulcan’s mine modeling software have been looking forward to the 64-bit version ever since their first error message: 'no more free graphics device segments'.  This new version promises to take advantage of all of the increased RAM memory in today’s modern computers.  The popular belief was that the new version would be able to load more data, load it faster and without changing from small to larger Dynamic Memory settings.  In reality, it has been plain to me for a while that access to increased memory limits should allow you to load more data but at the same processor speed,  effectively making the software seem even slower than it already is.  

I’ve had some time to work with Maptek Vulcan 8.1.4 64-bit and have to say that I am very pleased with the results.  The ability to load more data on the screen is a huge advantage.  If I have to load data at the old speed and wait a little longer for a response, I can live with that.  Just save me from the ‘no more free graphic device segments’ error.

The Dynamic Memory settings in Maptek Vulcan allocate how much memory is given to two processing groups.  The first group is for loading CAD data and triangulations/grids on the screen.  This is the memory you are increasing when you increase the Dynamic Memory to ‘Larger.’  This memory allows you to load large triangulations or your entire topo strings layer, it also restricts the amount of memory available to apply to the second process, crunching numbers.  Number crunching applies to block model processes and all background calculations.  Loading a block model slice on screen is actually memory intensive for this second process group.  A common mistake for Maptek Vulcan users is to increase Dynamic Memory when a block model slice won’t load when, in fact, the opposite would solve the problem.  

Recently, I have been having troubles with the Dynamic Memory settings in Maptek Vulcan 32-bit.  I have large topography triangulations that I work with on a regular basis.  I also have a correspondingly large block model whose slices I need to load frequently.  I have been constantly going back and forth between large 'custom' Dynamic Memory settings to view the triangulations and 'default' Dynamic Memory settings to view the block model slices.  The 64-bit version of Maptek Vulcan has saved the day.  With access to more memory I can now leave the Dynamic Memory settings at my 'custom' (larger than 'Larger') settings and still display the block model slices with the same settings.  This is a huge improvement.

The upgrade to 64-bit software isn’t the end-all of great programming.  Remember that your processing speed is still the same so when working with really large datasets the wait time can be tedious.  Another thing that I don’t understand is the warning I get with my custom Dynamic Memory settings.  I still get the error: “MAXSEG is larger than 100,000.  This is above the recommended value, but is still valid.”  Why is this error message still here?  Isn’t the point of a 64-bit version, that I CAN load datasets with more than 100,000 points?

If you are planning to work with large datasets it can take some time to choose settings that Maptek Vulcan is happy with.  There are several settings combinations that will cause Envisage to report errors.  For example: MAXTRI is LARGER than MAXEDT*2 or MAXEDT is not equal to MAXTRP.  To avoid these errors you may want to use the same Dynamic Memory settings that I use:
  • Object Points (MAXEDT):            2,500,000
  • Graphics Segments (MAXSEG):    2,000,000
  • Triangles: (MAXTRI):                    5,000,000
  • Triangle Points (MAXTRP):           2,500,000
  • Grid Points (MAXGRD):               3,000,000
  • Compositing Points (MAXCMP):     500,000

Remember that the error for too many Graphics Segments will come up but can be ignored.
The next big improvements that Maptek Vulcan should be looking into are:
  1. Making Dynamic Memory settings truly dynamic (i.e. memory gets used as it is needed, not set in stone by panel settings)
  2.  Increasing processing speed.  The ability to load more data needs to be supported by loading that data (and working with it) faster.
Other posts relating to Maptek Vulcan 8.1.4 64-bit:
Maptek Vulcan 8.1.4 64-bit Release Notes

For more information on Maptek Vulcan training:
Maptek Vulcan - Training

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