Map3D is a comprehensive three-dimensional rock stability analysis package. The program is used to construct models, analyze and display displacements, strains, stresses and strength factors.

Models can include rock slopes, open pits, tunnels, fractures and underground excavations, with yielding (non-linear) zones of different moduli (e.g. stiff dykes or soft ore zones) and loads due to steady state thermal/fluid flow. Excavations can be intersected by multiple discrete faults (non-planar and gouge filled) that slip and open.

Multi-step mining sequences can be created using the built-in CAD functionality, constructed using AutoCAD DXF or entered from an ASCII input file.

Micro-seismic event location can be superimposed over stress analysis results and/or colour contoured in real time.


Computer Requirements

Owing to the automated discretization and lumping built into the program, Map3D can accommodate up to 64000 elements (200000 degrees of freedom) on any 80386 compatible PC computer with 2MB of RAM. The program also executes on a variety of Unix workstations.



Analysis time and disk space requirements are problem dependent. 5000 element problems require less than 100 MB of disk space and take several hours to run. Very large problems over 30000 elements may require 1 GB of disk space and take days to run.

Graphics support over 400 plotting functions and support hi resolution graphics (640x480, 800x600 and 1024x768, 16 or 256 colours). Colour printer, PCX-Paintbrush import/export, and DXF-AutoCAD import/export are built in. Microsoft compatible mouse (version 6.0 or later) and digitizing tablets are supported.


Further Information

There are over 100 users of Map3D around the world. Mine Modelling Pty Limited offers a full range of stress analysis, rock mechanics research services and personalized on site training courses.


Map3D Versions

Map3D is available in four versions:

Map3D-SV the Standard Version, features a built in CAD interface, and the ability to analyze very large problem sizes (up to 64000 elements - 200000 degrees of freedom), multiple elastic zones with different moduli (stiff dykes or soft ore), discrete fault planes that slip and dilate are simulated. The faults may be non-planar and gouge filled, and are permitted to intersect other faults.

Map3D-PV the Personal Version, is a public domain program available through the International Society of Rock Mechanics. This version is identical to Map3D-SV except it is limited to small problems (100 elements). The program is intended to be used for demonstration and educational purposes only.

Map3D-TF the Thermal stress/Fluid flow analysis version, adds steady state thermal stress/fluid flow analysis to the standard version. The program is set up so that the user need only specify the temperature/head boundary conditions, then the thermal stress problem is solved simultaneously. This feature is useful for simulation of heating/cooling effects and drained/undrained response.

Map3D-NL the Non-Linear version, adds the capability for the rock to yield to loads that exceed the rock strength, and deform non-linearly to dissipate the excess stresses. This feature is useful for simulation of thick seams, over-stressed pillars, abutments, backfill and creep response.

All versions of Map3D (except the personal version) are available in either 16000 or 64000 element versions. Larger models can be provided if required.


Model Formulation and Capabilities

Boundary Element Method - Map3D is formulated using the very efficient Indirect Boundary Element Method and incorporates simultaneous use of fictitious force, displacement discontinuity and special proprietary boundary elements incorporated for the thermal and non-linear analysis versions.

Many of the supposed limitations of the boundary element method have been overcome in Map3D. The program can accommodate multi-step mining sequences and multiple material zones with different material properties and stress states. These zones are permitted to behave non-linearly. Multiple intersecting fault planes can slip and open according to user specified shear strength. Steady state thermal/fluid stress analysis can be simulated.

Problem Size - Map3D can accommodate 200000 degrees of freedom on a PC with 1 to 2 GB of disk space and solve in a few days. Problems as large as 30000 degrees of freedom require only 250MB of disk space and solve over night. This tremendous efficiency is achieved by use of matrix lumping. Without lumping, a 64000 element problem would take 147 GB of disk space. With lumping, this can be reduced to less than 1 GB. This permits users to specify existing mining geometry in detail, and add new mining as required. This greatly reduces the effort required to set up and run analyses and permits the whole mine to be considered when necessary.

Program Accuracy - Solution accuracy is controlled in Map3D by the automated discretization procedure. This means that one can obtain results at any desired location with a guaranteed level of accuracy.

Multiple material zones - Stiff dykes, soft ore zones, schist layers and backfill.

Fault slip planes - These planes can be gouge filled, slip and open.

Steady state thermal/fluid flow - Heated or pressurized tunnels and faults can be simulated.

Non-linear material response - Full three-dimensional yielding pillars, abutments and backfill.

Elasto-visco-plastic flow rule - Creep response can be simulated.

AutoCAD DXF files - Analysis can be conducted on DXF files without modification.

Boolean intersection capability - This makes model construction very easy.


Map3D Development

Map3D is constantly under development and supported by dedicated professionals who have been in the rock mechanics/numerical modelling business for over 20 years. The program is used by mining companies, consultants, research centres and universities around the world (including Australia, Belgium Canada, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Botswana, Turkey, USA and UK).

Map3D has been used in many projects including mine stability assessment, nuclear waste repository design, fracture propagation simulations, fault slip problems, in situ stress back-analysis, rock quarry design and open-pit mine stability.

Current research and development is focusing on ground support simulation, the capability to assess the potential for rock bursting, simulation of discing and fracture propagation, and MS-Windows support.


Graphical Pre-Processor

One of the keys to the ease of use is model construction using Map3D's unique solid modelling technology. This permits users to build models using a series of three-dimensional building blocks. These blocks, which can be any desired shape or size, are used to construct excavations and accesses, as well as to define non-homogeneous zones (ore zones, dykes and yielding zones).

The program automatically builds intersections between excavations, faults and multiple material zones. By coupling this capability with the built-in Boolean operations, complex multi-step mining sequences can be constructed with ease.

Input for the program can be generated in several ways. The user can build and edit models using the built in CAD capabilities of Map3D, edit an ASCII input file, or create input entirely from within any CAD program that generates DXF files. Compete DXF import/export capability with digitizer support is included. Support routines for AutoCAD (trademark of Autodesk Inc.) are provided.


Analysis Features

All excavation surfaces are automatically discretized by concentrating elements only where results are requested. Analysis results are calculated on a series of grids. These grid planes are also automatically discretized into a series of field points at which displacements, strains and stresses are calculated.

The automated discretization process minimizes the use of elements and field points. This not only relieves the user of the enormous burden of optimizing the use of elements, but also ensures consistently accurate results.


Graphical Post-Processor

Results are generated on element surfaces as well as on user specified grids which may slice through the excavation geometry at any desired location and orientation. Details of fault stability, displacement, strain, stress and strength factor can be selected with a click of the mouse.


Seismic Data Presentation and Analysis

Point data such as micro-seismic events can be displayed and contoured. The data can either be drawn as a series of small circles with their colour coded to reflect the magnitude at each point, or various event densities can be contoured on a cutting plane in real time.

Although this feature has been implemented into Map3D from the perspective of displaying micro-seismic data, any form of single point data can be readily displayed. These values can be set-up to represent event magnitude, stress, stress change, etc. All points are drawn in three-dimensional perspective and checked for occlusion by excavations, faults and grid planes, as they are drawn.