PSICAT, CHRONOS's Paleontological Stratigraphic Interval Construction and Analysis Tool, is a stand-alone Java based graphical editing tool for creating and viewing stratigraphic column diagrams from drill cores and outcrops. It is customized to the task of working with stratigraphic columns and captures data digitally as you draw and edit the diagram.
Customized to the task of drawing stratigraphic columns
One of the unique features that sets PSICAT apart from other drawing tools, such as Photoshop and CorelDRAW, is that it is customized to the task of stratigraphic columns. To draw a new interval in CorelDRAW, you would have to draw a rectangle and perhaps freehand the right side if you wanted to represent grain size changes. Then you choose the pattern that represents the lithology of the interval and fill your rectangle with it. All this is necessary because these other programs have no idea what an interval is.
PSICAT works at a higher level; it knows what an interval is. So instead of drawing a box, you simply draw an interval. Instead of filling in the interval with a pattern to denote the lithology, you simply select a lithology from a drop down list and PSICAT fills in the interval for you. And since drawing with a mouse is far from exact, PSICAT will let you specify the exact depths and extents via the keyboard.
In addition to simplifying the task of drawing the stratigraphic columns, PSICAT also captures data, such as depths, lithologies, intervals, etc., about the diagram. CorelDRAW will give you a nice image of the column. PSICAT will give you the same nice image but will also give you data that can be uploaded into a database and searched. And the data can be used to recreate the diagram, possibly at different scales or perspectives.
Compositing, side by side comparison, and scaling
PSICAT also offers many useful features to make the viewing and editing process easier. PSICAT allows you to store the captured data in multiple files. So if you're working on a drill core over many days, you can create a new file for each day's section. This is useful if you want to focus on a section, but what if you want to see the whole core? PSICAT will happily composite data from multiple files together to create 'the bigger picture'. Once you have multiple sections, PSICAT will let you compare and edit them side by side.
Another innovative feature of PSICAT is its ability to take an existing diagram and scale the data in it. The different levels dictate how the data is presented. For example, when you scale down, some small intervals might get combined or omitted unless you specified them as as essential at any scale. The larger intervals would get shrunk to reflect the new scale. This eliminates the need to go back and manually composite multiple sections and re-log them at the new scale.