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Soil Profile, Borehole and Core-Logging PC Software
for the Geotechnical Engineer and Civil Engineering Geologist

What is dotPLOT? (lees hier op Afrikaans)

The program dotPLOT prints geological soil profiles and borehole logs, using a personal computer running Microsoft Windows.  Output is either directly on a Hewlett Packard LaserJet or equivalent printer, or to PDF files (handy for e-mailing to clients, or printing using a PDF viewer).

The latest version, dot7022 of 10 February 2017, runs on Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and earlier, supports 32- and 64-bit PCs, and is available here.  It is a free upgrade from earlier versions in the dot7000 series only.  For upgrading from earlier versions, see pricing below. See demo videos below.

Click here to see What's New in dotPLOT and HotPlot.

What can dotPLOT do?

dotPLOT is designed specifically for soil profiles and borehole logs. It is a very compact program, super-fast, with compact data files (typically less than 3 KB per page) and compact PDF output files (about 20 KB per page). Customers can learn to use it merely by looking at the examples supplied –training is almost superfluous.  dotPLOT automatically recognises the names of 83 standard symbols in the text, which can be combined as required: There are no templates or esoteric code words –the words "sandy silt" in the text will produce the symbol for a sandy silt!

Input is in the form of an ordinary Text (ASCII) file produced by any word-processor package or editor. A Microsoft Word .doc file can also be used. The objective of the software is to intelligently interpret the stream of words as though they were typed directly from the field notes (possibly in the form of a Dictaphone recording, or dictated into speech recognition or Dragon Naturally Speaking), to automatically select symbols for soil and rock types, to choose appropriate scales, number of pages and page breaks, to format the text and to produce the finished pages ready for binding into a report or e-mailing, all with the minimum of editing by the engineering geologist.

The printed soil profile is in the form of high-quality laser graphics combined with text in user-selected fonts. Symbols for almost any soil descriptions and rock types can be combined:  Thus the symbol for SANDY can be combined with the symbol for CLAY, and this can in turn be combined with the symbol for GRAVEL or BOULDERS. By clever masking, symbols containing white space (e.g. BOULDERS) can be superimposed on other symbols. The program allows the user to select any combination of up to 12 symbols per layer. Eighty-three standard symbols are provided which cannot be altered by the user. They have been designed to cover most soil types and all classes of the igneous rocks.  Custom libraries can be provided at an extra cost, or the user can create his own using a separate program (also an extra cost).

Example (click for enlargement)

Example.  Also see Downloads below for more

Borehole Logs

The optional BOREHOLE LOG module allows up to 15 columns of rock attributes to be arranged in any desired order, tabulated either on a facing page or on the same page as the profile. Bar graphs of the attribute values can be drawn with normal or inverse shading, and colour. Each borelog column may be sub-divided and sub-labelled.

More Features

dotPLOT can output to PDF and DXF files for ease of printing and to e-mail to customers.

dotPLOT recognises notes on water tables (permanent or perched), water-seepage or water-strikes, weathering horizons, rockheads, samples (undisturbed, disturbed or chemical) and locates symbols for these alongside the profile. Reduction of levels is automatic and a correction is applied for slope.

A legend summarising all the particular symbols used on a job can be printed at the end of a run.

The user may reference his own Logo as a PDF file which the program can automatically locate, scale, and print on each page. Alternatively space can be left for the logo on pre-printed sheets.

The program offers extensive support for different languages: English, Afrikaans, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Slovenian are available at present.  Others could be added.  All aspects of the program can easily be customised by the user to work in the user’s choice of languages or dialects. This includes keywords in the input text file, prompts by dotPLOT, and printed output. Existing symbols may be assigned different names or synonyms in any number of languages.

A useful set of format controls is supported. The general page layout is customisable to a limited extent. Any bitmapped or scalable soft font on the user’s hard disk may be used provided the files follow the HP protocol. Cartridge and Internal printer fonts may be used.

For PDF output only the useful 12 standard Adobe fonts are supported namely COURIER, HELVETICA and TIMES ROMAN, each with upright, italic, bold and bold oblique variations.

Because of the numerous variables involved and the variety of personal choices that are possible in arranging the layout, the program has been arranged to read a SETUP FILE which stores all the values required. A routine is provided which enables the user to easily make changes to the setup, to store those changes, and to recall or switch between them by name at any later time. Thus a single work station can keep track of up to 19 different setups: for example there may be one for profiles, one for boreholes, one for percussion logs and further variations to suit individuals using a pool work station.

Although the program allows for considerable customisation, it is supplied “ready to run” with normal English input and prompts, using a standard HP LaserJet printer and internal fonts, or PDF output.

The program may be used without the borehole log option.

The major advance in the dot6000 series was plain text descriptions, also called "tilde-free text": If the ~ and ` special characters are omitted from a layer description, the program automatically finds all keywords in that layer except those explicitly excluded using a new special character, the bar ( | ).  You need to license the new features for them to work fully, but you can view them in DEMO mode.

The latest series of dotPLOT is dot7000.  This runs on 64-bit PCs, as well as 32-bit machines.  dot6000 and earlier ran only on 32-bit.


dotPLOT runs under DOS, and Windows 3.1, 95, 98, 2000, NT XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10.  Windows Professional Edition is recommended: On the "Home" Edition you may require the dot7000 series in order to correctly read the licence.

512 KB RAM memory is sufficient.

The input data file can be prepared with any file editor (Notepad, E.COM, EDIT.COM) or as a .DOC file using MS Word or as a TEXT file using Word Perfect, Lotus Word Pro, etc.  It is most conveniently edited using the Windows front-end, HotPlot (more below).

While a Hewlett Packard LaserJet printer is recommended for PCL output, other makes of printer may work if they support page composing, HP-PCL (Hewlett Packard Printer Control Language) and 300 dots-per-inch graphics.

PDF output can be printed via Windows to any installed printer.  This requires a free PDF Viewer.

The obsolete dot6000-series dotPLOT ran on 32-bit machines only.  The dot7000-series, released end July 2011, supports 32- and 64-bit.

Demo Version and Licensing

dotPLOT can be installed and run on any PC that meets the above specifications. It will run as a fully-functional Demo program.  The only restrictions are that your company name will not appear on the output, and a watermark of "DEMO" will appear on the output, gradually darkening with each printout.

dotPLOT is licensed in three ways:

  1. For installation on the C: drive of one machine.  It will then run on that PC only.
  2. By means of a security file loaded on a USB flash drive.  Input and testing can be done on any PC, but the the flash drive must be inserted to do final output.
  3. By means of a security file loaded on a network drive.  Several licenses can be loaded: They are allocated on a "first-come-first-served" basis: Any extras will run in Demo mode.

In all cases a key file is supplied by e-mail that is valid for that drive only.  If the hard drive or USB drive crashes, is stolen, or obsoleted, another copy of the program must be purchased.  Your company name appears on all output.  The program is therefore worthless to a thief, but should be insured anyway.  A consequence is that if the company name changes, the program must be re-licensed (for which there is a nominal charge).

The HotPlot Add-On for Windows

dotPLOT runs as a DOS window in Windows:  Users who are more familiar with Windows may find the DOS interface primitive, so Software Africa developed a Windows front-end for dotPLOT, known as HotPlot.  This program provides you with a Windows interface that runs dotPLOT for you, for a more friendly visual user experience.  It also has a text file editor with spelling checker, a SET file editor, and easy installation of the combined dotPLOT/HotPlot package.

The program produces output in any of several file formats.  In the case of PDF output, it lets you preview or print the file immediately via the Adobe Reader (if installed). HotPlot  includes a text file editor specially designed for dotPLOT, supporting the special symbols that dotPLOT uses.

HotPlot allows access to all the main features of dotPLOT, including editing SET files.  It also includes a HTML Help file with all the information you need to get productive on dotPLOT.  HotPlot is supplied in a combined package with dotPLOT and will install dotPLOT for you.

From 1 January 2015, HotPlot is sold bundled with dotPLOT as one package with one price. You can no longer license dotPLOT separately from HotPlot. If you already have dotPLOT licensed without HotPlot, you can buy HotPlot separately (at R3,000). The bundle costs R15,000 without the R3,000 Borehole Log option (prices exclude VAT).

For more information on HotPlot, click here (new page).


View introductory dotPLOT videos in this YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKus6qgbvcl40NLuIT2I2UxI8dNGCwtDq

Individual videos:

  1. A 5½-minute introduction to HotPlot running dotPLOT to create a PDF file: https://youtu.be/yD9r729gTeg

  2. An 8¾-minute outline of the Text file used to produce a dotPLOT soil profile: https://youtu.be/JxhpVnDtpMM

Background History

dotPLOT was written by the late Winston Jones when he was senior partner at Jones and Wagener Consulting Engineers of Rivonia, Johannesburg.  Winston retired and continued to support the program until his death on 9 August 2014.  From July 2009 Software Africa has been marketing dotPLOT, issuing licenses, making minor changes, and handling front-line support.  By prior agreement, on Winston's death the program became the property of Rick Raubenheimer, a Director of Software Africa.

More Information

If you would like us to contact you about dotPLOT, please click here, add your contact details, and send the resulting email.
Alternatively telephone Software Africa from South Africa on 011 802-2685 / 6440, or dial internationally: +27 11 802-2685.


Except for the HotPlot Help File, these are all PDF files: You need Adobe Reader to be able to read or print them.
All but the Tutor form part of the install package.  To download, click on the hyperlink and then choose "Save" in the pop-up window:

  • dotPLOT Examples (426 KB): 14 pages of examples of dotPLOT output.
  • dotPLOT Tutor (4 MB): 47-page Tutorial with extensive examples and exercises, not updated for dot6000 features yet.
  • dotPLOT Symbols (198 KB): Chapter 8 Examples from the User Manual (soil and rock symbols).  This file is included in the dotPLOT install package.
  • dotPLOT User Manual (697 KB): Detailed 78-page User Manual for dot6008, dot7003 and HotPlot 3.4.0 with extensive Index.  Also included in the dotPLOT install packages.
  • HotPlot Help File (1358 KB, Version 3.21.2 – 25 August 2016) in case you want to get an overview of HotPlot without installing it.

To download the latest version of dotPLOT (it will run as a Demo until licensed) click here (new page)


Prices exclude VAT (added for South Africa only), and are subject to change without prior notice. E&OE.
Payment on invoice in advance of licence. PDF output is always included (no longer licensed separately).
African Price in Rand (ZAR) ex. VAT Elsewhere in US$ (USD)  
Latest dot7000-series Program for soil profiles, with PDF Output module and HotPlot (Windows Interface), for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows PCs, all Windows Editions. R15,000 $1,500  per licence
Optional, but Highly Recommended:      
Borehole Log module: To produce a facing page of columns of Borehole Log attributes R3,000 $300  per licence
Instead of the Above – Annual Licences:      
Annual Licence for soil profiles only: Latest dotPLOT (soil profiles for 32- and 64-bit PCs) with HotPlot (Windows Interface): All upgrades included. R5,000 $500  per licence
 per year
Annual Licence with Borehole Logs: Latest dotPLOT (soil profiles and borehole logs for 32- and 64-bit PCs), with HotPlot: All upgrades included. R6,000 $600  per licence
 per year
Optional Extras:      
Upgrade to HotPlot (Windows Interface) for older dotPLOT versions licensed without HotPlot: R3,000 $300  per licence
Upgrade to Automatic Symbol Recognition (plaintext descriptions = tilde-free text) from any version earlier than dot6000 R2,000 $200  per license
Upgrade to the latest dot7000-series version from any version before the dot7000-series R3,000 $300  per license
Upgrade to the latest dot7000-series version from any earlier version in the dot7000-series free free  per license
Re-licensing of program (change of company name), and replacement of lost, stolen, and damaged licences (legal proof must be provided). R1,000 $100  per license
Support and Training [often waived for short incidents. Always quoted in advance if chargeable] R1,000 $100  per hour
Custom Symbols (may cost more, depending on complexity): Estimate R1,500 $150  each
Bug fixes free free  

Dealers who give us a lead (which we then close, bill, and are paid for) can get a referral commission of 10% of the above retail price.  Dealers who resell (a completed sale, which they have closed and bill to the customer) can get a discount of 20% of the retail price, provided they are not quoting in competition with Software Africa and the customer is still being charged full retail price.

Government and para-statal organisations and others wanting payment terms, BEE Certificates, bank-certified bank statements, and similar nonsense will be referred to an authorised reseller where they will be charged a 10% premium on the above prices.

Unlimited Educational Licenses for dotPLOT are available free of charge to registered educational institutions only.  The banner "DEMO" appears across the printout, but unlike the regular Demo version it does not darken with age.  If you want these licenses, Contact us.

Half-Price Academic-Commercial Licence: Lecturers and professors at approved educational institutions who wish to use dotPLOT both for academic use (teaching) as well as consulting (for paying clients) can get a full licence, free of the the "DEMO" watermark, for half the normal price.  Please phone or or e-mail us for approval.

Prices in South African Rand (ZAR) are valid for Africa only.  Elsewhere, US$ prices apply.
South African purchasers: Please add 14% VAT.
Purchasers in the rest of the world: Please make sure that you have covered all bank charges.
Downloads are free and generally all you need.  (Optional) deliveries of dongles and software are subject to courier charges.

Prices are subject to change without notice. E&OE.


For a list of the latest changes to both programs, click here to see What's New in dotPLOT and HotPlot.

International Notes

HotPlot (the Windows interface) is currently available in English.  The dotPLOT program can produce profiles and logs, accept input, and communicate with the user in eight languages: English, Afrikaans, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Slovenian.  Other languages and symbol sets can be added with the assistance of the user.

This makes it suitable for Albania, Angola, Anguilla, Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Britain, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and probably elsewhere.

You can buy or license all kinds of personal computer programs directly from Software Africa.  Click here for a list of programs available, or e-mail us your questions. If none of this software suits your needs, look at our References and the Free Stuff.  We can write similar bespoke programs for you!

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