Our Program

Funding provided to the UBC-GIF group is put towards academic research, software development, and the creation of educational resources. These aspects of our program are summarized below.

Research Objectives

Since the late 1980s, UBC-GIF researchers and graduate students have made major contributions in developing codes for forward modeling and inverting geophysical data. As of 2021, the current focus of our research is:

  • improving 3D forward modeling and inversion algorithms for potential fields and electromagnetic data
  • developing methods for incorporating geological and petrophysical information in order to better constrain inversion results
  • exploring the application of data science and machine learning methodologies to geophysical problems

For a comprehensive description of past and current research projects, visit our research page.

Software Development


Open-Source Software

SimPEG is an open source python package for simulation and gradient based parameter estimation in geophysical applications. And discretize is an open source Python package for constructing the building blocks for solving PDEs with the finite volume method. The initial framework of these packages was developed in 2014 by three UBC-GIF graduate students (Rowan CockettLindsey Heagy and Seogi Kang). Ongoing development of SimPEG and discretize is now being carried out by dozens of researchers around the world, with UBC-GIF remaining heavily involved.


Commercially Licensed Software

UBC-GIF has developed an extensive library of Fortran-based codes for forward modeling and inverting potential field and electromagnetic data. We have also created an interactive GUI (GIFtools) for loading, visualizing, interpreting, processing, simulating and inverting geophysical data. GIFtools and UBC-GIF Fortran codes and the GIFtools GUI are not freely available. However, licensing options exist for companies who wish to acquire this software. Several basic potential field and 1D electromagnetic codes are also available for academic use upon request. For more information, visit our software and licensing page.

GIFtools schematic


Educational Resources and Outreach

The UBC-GIF group has been heavily involved in creating free educational resources. Some of the educational resources we have created include:

  • GeoSci: a collection of open-source web-based “textbooks”, tutorials and computational resources for geoscientists. Jump to the GeoSci page.
  • Case Histories: As part of the GeoSci project, we have posted numerous case histories where geophysics was successfully used to solve geoscientific problems. Jump to Case Histories.
  • Inversion for Applied Geophysics (IAG): A free package containing tutorials and inversion codes for potentials fields and DC/IP. https://gif.eos.ubc.ca/IAGhttps://gif.eos.ubc.ca/IAG

Some of our outreach projects include:

  • Distinguished Instructor Short Course (DISC): Geophysical Electromagnetics: Fundamentals and Applications, presented by Dr. Douglas Oldenburg in 2017. Jump to the DISC website to see the course and computational resources.
  • Geoscientists Without Boarders: Donating modern survey equipment, developing free software solutions and training local practitioners to use 2D DC resistivity to target fresh water aquifers in Mon State, Myanmar.