6.0 MicroMODEL ACCESS AND USE

Subheadings for this chapter are as follows:

6.1 Introduction

Since MicroMODEL is menu driven, operating the system requires minimal knowledge of the computer system and MicroMODEL's program structure. This section discusses accessing the system and suggestions to maximize MicroMODEL's performance.

6.2 Using MicroMODEL

Once MicroMODEL's main menu appears, the user can select the appropriate submenu and program option. Generally, each menu choice actually runs two programs in succession to accomplish the menu option task. The first program prompts the user for the necessary input parameters and the second program performs the required computations and produces the corresponding output.

All input programs have been written using a third party graphical interface that uses standard Microsoft Windows GUI tools. There are input fields, command buttons, radio buttons, etc. The behavior of these input screens follow standard windows protocol. A user that is familiar with the ins and outs of other windows applications should have little or no difficulty with MicroMODEL.

The programs have been arranged in a multiple input screen format that greatly enhances the usability of MicroMODEL. Help screens "pop-up" as an overlay, making it much easier to access. In many cases, the user can view, on one single screen, all of the important input parameters for a given program run. Input items which do not normally change are placed on subsequent screens, and can be skipped.

Most MicroMODEL programs contain a banner at the top of the first input screen which describes its purpose. If the action of the program is not what the user had intended, he should proceed to the first screen which contains a <QUIT> button, and select that button. This returns the user to the menu system without altering any input responses.

6.2.1 Menu System Overview

All programs work in the same general manner. The concept of multiple answersets is used. The MAINMENU program is used to launch other programs. The MAINMENU program displays the name of the current project in the window title bar. Also, the directory name in which the project resides is displayed in the lower left corner of the window.

The user selects the appropriate module (System, Data Entry, etc.) by either clicking that choice on the menu bar along the top of the screen, or by using the accelerator key (Alt-S selects System Setup). The accelerator key does not work, except when no submenu dialog is present on the display.

Once a submenu dialog appears, the user may move from submenu to submenu by either pressing the "Previous" button or the "Next" button. The "Cancel" button moves the user up one level of dialog. Note that the user can move directly to any submenu dialog by clicking on the appropriate menu choice at the top of the screen.

To actually run a program, the user navigates to the desired submenu dialog, and then chooses which program to run from the set of rectangular buttons. These buttons appear like command buttons, but they are actually radio buttons. MicroMODEL was implemented this way so that when the user exits and then reenters MicroMODEL, the previous submenu dialog and program choice are redisplayed. The standard menu system for Windows does not allow a program to preset menu choices.

Once the desired program has been highlighted, either by clicking with the mouse, or by navigating with arrow keys, the user starts the program by either clicking on the "OK" button, or pressing the accelerator shortcut key "O". Clicking the program button after it has been highlighted will also execute the program. Also, unless the Cancel, Previous, or Next button are highlighted (dashed line around border), the user may press the ENTER key to execute the currently highlighted program choice.

As mentioned before, the menu system "remembers" the last program that was selected from each sub-menu. Previous choices are saved in a small ASCII file called SUBMENPM.DAT.

6.2.2 Screen Layout and Cursor Movement

Each input screen generally consists of one or more buttons, and can also include up to 100 different edit fields. There are three types of buttons.

The first type, called a command button, is displayed as a raised rectangular button. Most input screens have five command buttons, located along the bottom of the screen. A view of these five buttons, and the function they perform, are listed below:

  <Next Screen>   Move directly to next input screen
<Previous Screen> Move directly to previous input screen
  <Run Program>   Continue with program
      <Quit>      Quit and exit without saving responses
      <Help>      Provides help for the item at current cursor location

The second type of button, the radio button, is displayed as a small white circle, with adjacent text that describes that choice. If the choice is selected, then the white circle is filled in with black. Generally, these radio buttons will always appear as a group, and will be enclosed inside a square box called a group box. Only one choice can be selected. The choice can be changed by clicking with the mouse, or through the use of the arrow keys.

The third type of button, the check box, is displayed as a white square. If the choice is selected, then a black check mark appears in the box. Otherwise, the box remains as a plain white square. Text to the side of the check box describes an action that will be taken if the box is checked. An example of the use of check boxes is in the variogram plotting program. Check boxes are used to pick which variograms are going to be plotted out of the group that was calculated.

Edit fields appear as white rectangles with black text. The field width varies, depending on the information that is to be entered in the field. For example, the edit field for answer set name must hold up to 64 characters, so it is rather wide. An input field for rock code needs to hold only 5 characters, so it is fairly narrow. Text or numbers are simply entered into the edit field in the same manner as you would enter data in any other Windows program. Here is how certain edit keys function:

  BACKSPACE: Delete previous character
     DELETE: Delete current character
       HOME: Move to beginning of edit field
        END: Move to end of edit field
 LEFT-ARROW: Move one character to the left
RIGHT-ARROW: Move one character to the right

A new value is actually entered in an edit field when the mouse is clicked on another edit field or button, or when one of the following keys is pressed:

   ENTER, DOWN-ARROW, UP-ARROW, TAB, SHIFT-TAB

The screen cursor can be moved using arrow keys, the Tab key, or by the Shift-Tab (Hold the Shift button down, and press Tab button). For each screen, the cursor will move either backwards or forwards through each of the buttons, and through each of the edit fields, in forward or reverse order. In general, the keys perform the following functions (except for differences as noted later for the choice buttons):

   TAB, DOWN-ARROW, RIGHT-ARROW: Move right/down/next
SHIFT-TAB, UP-ARROW, LEFT-ARROW: Move left/up/previous

As previously noted, the ARROW keys do not function the same when the cursor is located on a radio button. pressing an arrow key when the cursor is on a radio button will either increment or decrement the choice by one step. Radio buttons can also be changed by clicking with the mouse on a new choice.

Check boxes are selected by either clicking on the button with the mouse, or by pressing the Space Bar when the current cursor position is on that check box.

Many command buttons invoke a drop down menu. A drop down menu is simply a list of different choices. The "elevator" bar to the right of the list box can be clicked with the mouse to move up and down in the list.

6.2.3 Multiple Answer Sets

Most of the programs in MicroMODEL allow the user to store and retrieve multiple answer sets. This allows the user to make multiple runs of a given program without overwriting the previous set of answers each time. This feature, when used appropriately, provides an audit trail of all the various program runs that were made to create a mineral reserve.

The first time that a program is invoked, the user is not prompted to select the answerset. On subsequent runs, the user is given a choice of either selecting an old set of answers, or choosing a new set of answers. In either case, the user still is given the opportunity to change any and all of the answers stored in that answer set before actually running the program.

If a program is run and that program already has a current list of answer sets to choose from, then the user is asked to select which answer set to use at the beginning of the run. At this point, the user has three different options. These are as follows:

  1. A previous answer set can be selected from the pulldown menu and reused. Simply highlight the answer set, and select the "Reuse this answer set" radio button. Responses will be overwritten to this same answer set slot.
  2. A previous answer set can be selected from the pulldown menu, to be used as the starting point for a new set of responses. The new set of responses will be stored in the slot that follows the last current set of answers. The previous answer set will not be changed. To do this, select the answer set to copy from the pulldown menu. Then, select the radio button that says "Preserve this answerset, but use it as the starting point for a new set of answers."
  3. A new set of answers can be selected, with the MicroMODEL default answers being used as a starting point, by selecting the last choice shown in the pulldown menu. The radio button selection is ignored.

6.2.4 Run/Edit/Quit Dialog

Most MicroMODEL programs prompt the user at the end of the input session with a dialog box titled "Run/Edit/Quit. The user presses "Run Program" to run the program, "Edit" to go back and edit responses, and "Quit" to quit the program without saving any of the new responses.:

6.2.5 Termination of Running Programs

If an undesired program execution is started after the input stage, it normally can be stopped by pressing the escape key, or by clicking on the cancel button.

6.3 Scale Factors for Scaled Plots

All plots of maps (e.g., cell and contour), cross sections, and perspectives are categorized as scaled plots. These plots require a character size and scale factor as input. The plot scale factor is the map scale at which the plots are displayed. The units are feet/inch (English) or meters/meter (Metric).

Maps that do not fit on the plotter paper at a standard mine scale can be "clipped" by rows and columns within MicroMODEL and spliced together after plotting. This allows the user to produce large maps without reduction to an inconvenient scale.

6.3.1 Character Sizes for Scaled Plots

Character heights on all MicroMODEL plots are defined by the character size which is specified as a fraction of the row dimension. This ensures a plot file appears the same regardless of the output device or plot scale.

To simplify selection of character sizes, character heights should be measured in map scale (feet or meters), not plot scale (inches or centimeters). The character size is then defined by:

Character Size = (Desired Character Height)/(Row Dimension)

For example, in the plotting of cross sections, the drill hole intervals are typically 5 feet long. Since a character height of 4 feet just fits for each interval assay to be plotted beside the drill hole in cross section, the character size is { 4 / 20 } = 0.2, given a row dimension of 20 feet. The characters are 4 feet high, occupying 1/5th (0.2 or 20%) of the 20 foot row dimension.

This character sizing method applies to all scaled plots. Once a satisfactory character size is found, it can be used to produce uniform character heights throughout MicroMODEL.

In general, every place that the user is required to enter a character size, the actual size of the character in either feet or meters is echoed to the right of the edit field where the fractional value is entered.

6.3.2 Scale Factors for Unscaled Plots

Unscaled plots (e.g., paper menus) are designed to fit on a standard size 8.5in by 11in (215mm by 280mm) piece of paper with a scale factor of 1.0.

To adjust the plot size, use:

Scale Factor = 1 / (Multiple of Standard Size)

Character sizes are automatically selected for unscaled plots.

6.4 Previewing Plots on the Computer Screen

After each graphical display program finishes, the user is given the opportunity to display the output on the computer screen. A dialog box automatically displays, and the name of the plot file that was just generated is shown as the file that will be displayed. By pressing the Open button, this file will be displayed on screen. As with hard copy plots, the origin of the screen plot is at the lower left corner of the screen.

If text appears as lines instead of text, press the preview toggle key (F3) to toggle the text. This feature is meant to allow for quick zooms and pans with the text disabled.

All plots that are previewed to the screen are scaled to fit the screen. The plot scale that is specified serves to adjust the size of the title block so that it is the same proportion as it would be when a hard copy version of the plot is generated at that scale.

The screen previewing program allows the user to pan and zoom, making it very easy to check plots before actually sending them to a plotter. The user should press F1 for help on using the screen previewer.

The user may, at any time, display a previously produced plot file to the screen. The user simply chooses "Screen Preview of Plot File" from the Pulldown File menu. The default file to be displayed will be whatever the previous choice had been. The user can select from any of the plot files that appear in the dialog window. After the appropriate file has been chosen, the user presses the "Open" button.

6.4.1 Plotting to AutoCAD DXF

At any time, the user may opt to convert a MicroMODEL plot file to standard AutoCAD DXF format. The DXF output that is produced can be read into AutoCAD for further processing and/or plotting. For AutoCAD versions prior to 14, the DXF file that is created by MicroMODEL can contain commands to automatically set the pen colors to closely reflect those from MicroMODEL. For AutoCAD Version 14, the DXF format was changed such that the pen color information must be added separately via a script file.

Check the box labeled "Check here for AutoCAD 14+ compatibility" if you are using Version 14 or higher. The program will automatically create a file with the same name as your DXF file, but with the extension SCR. For example, a plot to CONT.DXF will also create the file CONT.SCR.

To load the DXF into AutoCAD, select the File>New command to create a new drawing. Then, use the DXFIN command to load the DXF file. If you need to define the pen colors with the script file, then use the SCRIPT command. The SCRIPT command will prompt for the script file name. Select the appropriate file using the file dialog.

The user selects "AutoCAD DXF from MicroMODEL Plot" from the pulldown File menu. Then, the desired MicroMODEL plot file is selected from the dialog. The user should press the "Open" button to begin processing.

The DXF plotting program is multiple answer, so the user must select the desired answerset. Then, the user selects the answer set name, the name of the DXF output file, the plot scale (affects relative size of title block to the plot), The user can also change the default layer names that are used for each pen color, and select the AutoCAD pen number that will be used for each MicroMODEL pen number.

The default layer names are MMPENxx, where "xx" is the pen color. For example, pen color 5 is written to AutoCAD layer MMPEN05. It is suggested that the user change these layer names to make it easier to understand the AutoCAD drawing layers. For example, pen 1 might be used for outputting all text in the drawing. A logical layer name would be "TEXT." The user must press the "Change AutoCAD Layer Names" button to actually change the layer names.

As a further help, the AutoCAD layer names screen has a button labeled "Scan for Relevant Layers." By pressing this button, all unused layers, that is, layers for pen numbers which have not been used for the current drawing, will be blanked out. The user can then see immediately just which layers are relevant and change the names as needed.

The user may also change which AutoCAD pen number is used for each layer. The default answers contain AutoCAD pen numbers which closely match the standard color Pallette that is used by both the MicroMODEL screen preview program and the MicroMODEL HP-650/750 plotter Pallette. By pressing the "Change AutoCAD Pen Numbers" button, the user can access the AutoCAD pen number input screen. Any AutoCAD pen number from 1 to 255 can be entered for each MicroMODEL pen color (layer).

6.4.2 Plotting to HP 650/750

At any time, the user may opt to convert a MicroMODEL plot file to Hewlett Packard (HP) HPGL/2 ASCII output. This conversion program is specifically designed for the HP-650C and HP-750C plotters. Other plotters that are able to emulate HPGL/2 can also be used.

The user selects "HP750C HardCopy of Plot File" from the pulldown File menu. Then, the desired MicroMODEL plot file is selected from the dialog. The user should press the "Open" button to begin processing.

The HPGL/2 plotting program is multiple answer, so the user must select the desired answerset. Then, the user selects the answer set name, the name of the plot output file, the type of plot (scaled, unscaled, report), optional plot offsets, 90 degree rotation option, and optional pallette file.

6.5 Displaying Text Output

Most of the non-graphical MicroMODEL programs create text output as a formatted ASCII print file. At the completion of these programs, control is returned to the MAINMENU program, and a dialog box titled "Select Print File to Display" is shown in which the appropriate file name is displayed in the file name entry field.

The user can press the "Open" button to display and/or print the file, or press "Cancel" to exit from the print dialog. MicroMODEL output is designed to be displayed in Landscape format, and a font size of 8 points is required to fit the output to standard 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper. A constant width font, such as Courier New, should be used. If a variable width font is used, then any output containing tables, etc., will not line up correctly from line to line.

Note that this print dialog can be accessed at any time by selecting "Print MicroMODEL Output" from the pulldown File menu.

The Shareware program TextPad has been chosen as the default text display and printing program for MicroMODEL. TextPad is written by Helios Software in the United Kingdom, and is far superior to MicroSoft WORDPAD. The user can choose another program, if desired. To override the choice of TEXTPAD, the user must set the following environmental in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file for his computer:

  SET MMPRINTPROG=Progpath+Progname

Where Progpath+Progname is the full directory path and program name the user wishes to use in lieu of TEXTPAD.

  Example: SET MMPRINTPROG=C:\Program Files\Eps80\Epsilon.EXE

6.6 Converting Topography from DXF

In many cases, topographic data for a project is already available in AutoCAD format. A tool is available for converting topography from AutoCAD DXF output, so long as the data is stored as either LINES, POLYLINES, or LWPOLYLINES.

To access this program, select "DXF Conversion Utility" from the pulldown File menu. This program supports multiple answer sets. Choose the desired answerset, and then select the input and output files. The user must also choose which type of data to convert. Press "Scan DXF File" to automatically scan the file and find all possible data types and layer names.

If the automatic scan feature was used, then the user should "blank out" any layers that were found that should not be converted.

Normally, this program takes the Z attribute of each AutoCAD feature and uses that as the elevation for the MicroMODEL topography file. However, the user may wish to use this program to convert other types of data. For example, geology outlines may be converted. The user can check the check box at the top of the input screen so that the AutoCAD layer number, rather than the Z attribute, is written as the "elevation" of the converted data.

6.7 Converting MEDSystem (tm) Files

MicroMODEL includes a set of conversion tools that allow the user to easily convert certain MEDSystem (tm) files for use by MicroMODEL. First, an program is available that will read output from M101V1 (Print Model Parameters) and convert the output to the equivalent MicroMODEL values. Next, a program that will read the MEDSystem File 15 (Main 3-D block model file) and convert any or all labels to individual MicroMODEL grade files. If the MEDSystem Percent Topography label is flagged, then a MicroMODEL 2-D surface topopgraphy file (T200) will automatically be generated. Finally, a program is available for converting MEDSystem VBM (Variable Block Model) files to MicroMODEL compatible files.

The MEDSystem conversion programs are accessed by selecting the File pulldown menu. Then, choose "MEDsystem (tm) Conversion Utilities". Finally, select the desired conversion tool.

The user should press the HELP button in the lower right corner of each conversion program in order to access the detailed help information.