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Cross Section Designer

After selecting the participating boreholes, you can design your cross section using the Cross Section Designer which allows you to draw soil/rock layers between the boreholes, add annotations, set the drawing scale and hatch pattern scale, etc.

Once your cross section design is completed, you can export the model to various formats (DXF, KMZ, PNG, etc.).

Getting Started

The first time you create a cross section, the page shows stick-log of participating boreholes in Profile view. The distribution of boreholes in the Profile view is based on their coordinates. The main components of Cross Section Designer include:

  • Top Toolbar: Provides access to various functions such as import, export, print, groundwater line, polyline, polygon (soil / rock layer), annotation, and zoom.
  • Viewer Mode: The design may be viewed in the following modes:
    • Plan View: Shows all boreholes on map/satellite view at their corresponding locations.
    • Profile View: Shows an 'unfolded' profile view of all participating boreholes. This is where user designs the cross section by drawing lines, polygons etc.
    • 3D View: Once the design of cross section is completed in Profile view, user can switch to 3D view which shows the boreholes in their 3D coordinates. User can turn on terrain model using map, satellite or wireframe surface.
  • Property Grid: Each 'object' in Cross Section Designer has its own properties (i.e. text, color, font size, transparency etc.). To view the properties of an object, click on the object. Examples of objects include but not limited to boreholes, layers (polygons), groundwater line, text, etc. The upper portion of the property grid is reserved for showing the properties of the 'selected object', whereas the lower portion of the property grid shows:
    • Display Setting: general settings that determine how the boreholes, hatch patterns, and lines will appear on screen.
    • Points: Determines the appearance of points (vertices) of polygons. By default, points are shown by red squares. User can select and move the points around except those points that belong to a borehole.
    • Section Axis: Allows changing the text and font of the horizontal and vertical axes of the viewport.
    • Scaling: User can select different horizontal and vertical scale factors for the cross section.
  • Cross Section: Comprises a number of polygons representing soil/rock layers, underground structures, contaminated zones, etc. A polygon could be drawn using the polygon button on the top toolbar. A polygon may or may not be connected to a borehole.
  • Legend Box: A legend box comprises all soil and rock types used in drawing the cross section. The hatch patterns of all soil and rock types will be presented in individual boxes along with a generic description of that type. A legend box can display data in multi-column format.
Cross Section Designer
Cross Section Designer

Profile View

Once participating boreholes are selected, the profile view shows all these boreholes at their corresponding locations along the profile. The stratigraphy along the depth of each borehole is shown at each borehole location. If the borehole has a field test dataset (e.g. SPT or Vane shear test) it will be plotted beside the borehole.

The viewport is an interactive screen allowing zoom, pan and object selection. The horizontal and vertical axis of the viewport indicate Distance and Elevation of boreholes, respectively.

Borehole Locations on the Profile

The first borehole is always placed at Distance = 0; Next boreholes will be placed on the profile based on their Distance to the previous borehole. This way, the profile displays an 'unfolded' view of the cross section.

Drawing Scales

User can select different horizontal and vertical scales for the profile using the Scaling section at the bottom of the property grid. This is especially helpful when dealing with a linear project.

Ground Surface Line

Ground surface line is shaped based on the top soil/rock layers in the soil profile; Therefore, there is no need for drawings extra lines to form the ground surface. Please note while drawing the polygons for soil/rock layers you can add extra points in between the boreholes to represent topographic points.

Ground Surface Line
Ground Surface Line

Field Test Graphs

Up to two graphs may be shown on the side of each borehole. In order to select the source of data for graphs:

  1. Click on a borehole; Note the property grid (left of screen) shows the properties of the selected borehole.
  2. At the top of the list find the Field Test Plots property.
  3. Click to open the dropdown, and select the desired tests from the list.
  4. The graph for the first test selected from the list will be shown on the right side of the subject borehole. The second test will be shown on the left.

To edit the properties of a graph (e.g. colors, fonts etc.) click on the graph and edit its properties from the property grid. Please note graphs could be dragged around by grabbing them with mouse and moving them to either sides of their borehole, unless the Anchor property of the graph is set to Left or Right; In these cases, the graph could not be moved.

Drawing Soil/Rock Layers

Soil or Rock Layers are drawn by drawing a polygon and setting a specific color and hatch pattern to that polygon. Click on the Draw Soil/Rock Layer from the top toolbar to start drawing a polygon on screen:
  1. Polygons are drawn by connecting points (red squares) together. You can use the pre-defined points along the depth of a borehole (at the top and bottom of each layer), or click anywhere in-between the boreholes to add a new point.
  2. Double click on the last point (or press Enter) to close the polygon.

Groundwater Line

When a borehole is drawn in Cross Section Designer, the groundwater depth (if exists) will be represented using a blue water symbol on the borehole. The type of water symbol (filled / hollow) may be selected using the Groundwater Symbol property under Global Settings of the property grid.

To draw a groundwater line, click on Draw Groundwater Line button on the top toolbar. Start drawing a polyline from anywhere on screen and add points as required. Double click on the last point (or press Enter) to complete the groundwater line. Once completed, the property grid will be refreshed with properties of this groundwater line and you can choose color, line style, etc. as desired.


Points are used to shape polygons and polylines, and by default they are shown as red squared in Cross Section Designer. General properties of points may be set from the Points section of the property grid.

  • Predefined Points: These points are added to the top and bottom of each soil / rock layer when Cross Section Designer draws a borehole. These points cannot be deleted or moved.
  • User-Defined Points: During drawing a polygon you can add a vertex by clicking anywhere on screen. In the screenshot shown in the Ground Surface Line section of this article, note several points added to the top Fill Material layer to represent the ground surface topography on the right side of AH20-1. To move a user-defined point, drag them with mouse. To delete a point, click on the point and select Delete link from its property grid.

Hatch Patterns

Once a soil / rock layer polygon is drawn, user can fill the polygon with a hatch pattern that represent the material associated with that layer. To do this:

  1. Click on the polygon to select it, and notice the upper portion of the property grid is populated with polygon's properties such as color, opacity, pattern type etc. (see screenshot below).
Select Hatch/Fill Pattern
Select Hatch/Fill Pattern
  1. Select Fill Style from the following options:
    1. Void: no fill or hatch will be applied to the polygon.
    2. Solid: the polygon is filled with a solid color selected in Fill Color property.
    3. Pattern: the polygon will be filled with a soil / rock pattern. An image is used for each pattern selected from the Pattern Type property and the polygon will be tiled using selected hatch pattern.
  2. Pattern Category: There are four pattern categories to choose from:
    1. USCS: Represents soil patterns commonly used for Unified Soil Classification System (e.g. CL, SW, GP-GM, etc.)
    2. Rock: Includes various rock patterns (e.g. Shale, Granite, etc.)
    3. AGS: covers all AGS hatch types (e.g. 203, 710, etc.)
    4. Misc.: Includes a number of miscellaneous hatch patterns (e.g. Asphalt, Bentonite, etc.)
  3. Pattern Type: Once a Pattern Category is selected, click on the Pattern Type dropdown to select a pattern.

The scale of the hatch patterns is defined by the Pattern Scale property under the Global Settings section of the property grid.

Adding ? to Polygons and Lines

To indicate an uncertain boundary for a layer or groundwater line, use the Show ? on Lines property to choose the frequency of ? symbols. The size of ? symbols may be defined under Global Settings section of the property grid.

Question Marks on Polygons and Polylines
Question Marks on Polygons and Polylines

Legend Box

A list of hatch patterns used in this soil profile are presented in the Legend Box. The Legend Box may be easily moved around and its property could be changes as desired, including:

  • General properties such as background color, border, font style, title etc.
  • Image size which refers to the individual hatch pattern images shown on the Legend Box.
  • Number of columns determines how the hatch patterns should be presented in the Legend Box.
  • Pinned property determines if the Legend Box should be pinned to a corner of the screen, otherwise the Legend Box will move with the rest of the model during zoom and pan.

Display Settings

This section of the property grid is used to set the overall look and feel of the Cross Section Designer. Examples of these settings include gridline style, points style, fonts, scales etc.

Plan View

Click on the toggle bar (top-right corner of screen) to select Plan View. This will show the top view of the site with the location of all boreholes shown on the map, along with the location of all cross sections in this project.

3D View

Click on the toggle bar (top-right corner of screen) to select 3D View. In 3D View you are able to see all boreholes and all cross sections of the project in 3D. Here are some features available in 3D view:

  • Using Global Settings > Project Profiles (from the property grid) you can choose which cross sections should be visible in 3D view,
  • Using Global Settings > Project Test Holes (from the property grid) you can choose which test holes should be visible in 3D view,
  • Click on the map icon below the View Cube (top-right corner of screen) you can turn on the terrain (see next section for more details),
  • Using the Import > Raster Image (PNG) from the top toolbar you can import an image/photo to the model. Once an image is imported, click on the image and use its property grid to:
    • move the image in different planes (i.e. XY, XZ, and YZ)
    • scale the image
    • rotate the image

Terrain Model

When you turn on the terrain model in 3D View, the topographic data along with map/satellite/contours tile images are automatically retrieved from the Mapbox server. This terrain data is comprised of a wide variety of data sources from government-provided datasets as well as third-party commercial data.

When the terrain layer is selected (i.e. by clicking on the terrain model), the following options become available in the property grid:

  • Opacity: is used to change the transparency of the terrain layer
  • Radius: determines the size of the terrain model based on the radius (km) from the center of the site. The center of the site is calculated based on all boreholes in the project.
  • Resolution: determines the quality of the terrain model. For most projects, Basic or Standard return sufficient details.
  • Flatten Terrain: if selected, the terrain model will be turned to a flat view (i.e. no topography).
  • Terrain Source: can be selected from the following options:
    • Street Map: shows street map with no elevation contours.
    • Satellite: shows satellite imagery.
    • Solid Contours: simulates the terrain by horizontal slices at 10 m elevation contours.
    • Wireframe: similar to Street Map and Satellite but uses wireframe instead of image.
    • Street Map (with contours): shows street map with 10 m elevation contours.
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