"With xGEL we do not have to worry about misplacing paper work or doing calculations."

— Juan Nieto
Tech Services Supervisor, Burge-Martinez Consulting, Inc.

Read what others are saying about us

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use some other computer? Can I use some other screen?

Yes. xGEL can run on a regular computer with a regular monitor. However, the screen resolution needs to be at least 1920 x1080. In addition, square displays do not have enough real estate to display the xGEL data entry screens properly.

What are the minimum system requirements?

Display as above, PC running Win 10 or above, 512 GB (1TB highly recommended) HD, Small LaserJet Printer, Ohaus Scale, and Ohaus scale cable. Call us for exact up to date information or to discuss further.

What all this about a small lab printer?

It is all about production process optimization. Get a stopwatch sometime, and time how long it takes to create all the tracking cards/slips that follow the actual samples for the LL and Pl and M200/Gradations. xGEL will print tracking cards, so you do not have to manually create them. In addition, making the lab folks walk “way down the hall”, to get paper copies of the data reports they need off the shared printer, is better spent doing testing.

Thought for the day:
"... the key to superior profits, and the main differentiator, indeed, practically the only differentiator, between the engineering firms of the future as they compete in a commoditized market, will be their product delivery systems and the business ecosystem that delivers their projects."
~ Susan L. Harris, PhD, Leadership & Strategy for Sustainable Systems, (2007), Co Author of "Value Redesigned: New Models for Professional Practice."

Where is are the xGEL programs installed?

Our programs are installed at the root (C:\xGEL Data Systems\ ...). This is due to internal Windows processes that if they were placed elsewhere, take maintenance of the program to a next level of difficulty, and increase costs, and frustrations in the providing support.

Do I need a touchscreen?

No. Regular monitors can work. You can always upscale later to a touchscreen which can really boosts production.

Do I have to have an electronic scale?

No. You can input the scale data manually, but electronic data capture from an Ohaus scale that can send its weight information to the computer is the fastest.

Can I use scales other than from Ohaus?

Right now, we only support certain specified scales from Ohaus that have a data output port - either a serial RS232, or the round, Ohaus data port. Most of the Ohaus scales now have the round data port, to which is attached an Ohaus communications cable, that itself connected to the computer running xGEL. The cable is what feeds the data to xGEL.

Other scales might work, but we do not support them yet, and do not know if we ever will. However, send us an email telling us what kind of scale you have, or are looking to use, and we will contact/call you back to discuss the situation. Additional programming services will be charged if we do undertake to code of set-up for non-Ohaus scales. There is no additional fee to add additional Ohaus compatible scales that communicate with the same protocol(s) as the existing Ohaus scales we already program for. Call us for more information.

Can I use a USB data cable at the computer end to connect my scale to the computer?

YES - but you need to use the OHAUS USB Scale Cable. We do not support other cables. We have tried others, and found them to be buggy. Contact us if questions.

Can I use a Serial-at-Scale to USB-at-computer data cable to connect my scale to the computer?

YES - but you need to use the proper OHAUS Serial to USB Scale Cable. We do not support other cables. We have tried others, and found them to be buggy. Contact us if questions.

Where can I get equipment?

You will need to get your own computer, scale and scale cable, and small LaserJet lab printer. We have clients that use all-in-one computers from HP or Dell, and we have clients that use normal desktops, either large box or small box form factor.

If you need further help, send an email to info@xgeldatasystems.com.

Can xGEL be installed on a"regular" computer?

Sure can. xGEL is a Windows PC program, and we have tried it out on laptops, and desktops, as well as on all-in-one touch computers. (All of them had Win 10 or higher on them.) Call us if you want to discuss.

What's all this about the TouchComputer?

While LabMate can run on desktops & laptops, a touchcomputer (integrated touchscreen and computer) is the recommended platform for use of the xGEL Software and Service. The touchscreen allows faster data collection and faster operation of the xGEL capabilities than just a regular computer monitor, and the fact that on a touch-computer, the touchscreen is integrated with a computer, means you don't have all that cabling snaking all over the place.

For an increase in price from manufacturers, you can get touch computers that are made for dirty environments (you know, like a restaurant), and are expected to have a better performance life that a regular computer with a regular monitor. However, we have been in some labs where their desktops and consumer all-in-ones were still running fine after 5 years of use and 3 inches of dirt. If you want to discuss hardened systems, then get in touch with us.

When are you going to provide functionality for other tests besides the Mc, AL, UDW, UC, -200? For example full sieve stack tests and Proctors?

As of 2024, we can run the full sieve stack gradations, and xGEL LabMate also has Proctor capability for certain users. We do not plot gradation or Proctor curves, however. That is not what xGEL is about, we collect and process data, and we leave that cool sophisticated graphing to the upscale boring log and data presentation programs, such as gINT, RsLog, BoreDM, OpenGround, GeoDin, and others.

Why do you layout the xGEL export data files to comport with the standard gINT .gpj and .mdb data structure instead of other structures?

Standardization is key to economical software provision, and gINT has been the defacto standard in the United States for boring logs for quite some time, so that is what was chosen as our export file structure. In addition, it is not economical to code xGEL to match via its own code, the individual data structures/layouts of every log program that is used, but, having said that, gINT, and other boring log programs, have correspondence file features that allows users to create a file that is used to match the xGEL standard data layout to their individual gINT, or other structures. BoreDM, RsLogs, (and OpenGround, to our understanding), also have a mapping file feature where users create a correspondence file to map the xGEL data to their individual structures. (We are uncertain as of yet if GeoDin has import and correspondence capabilities, but likely so.)

We standardized on the gINT us_lab_std.gdt since that is the basic one that most people start from, and we have found that many engineers make no changes to that basic template.

Note that the gINT files are MS Access .mdb data files and can be opened in Access, and are well known in the industry. (In our assessment, they have the file extension “.gpj” as a way for users to easily see, in their file manager, that those are their gINT project files, and for gINT to filter on that extension when gINT shows your project files lists.)

What is a correspondence file?

A correspondence file is file created by you (or by us for an additional fee) so that your boring log or other software will know how to port the LabMate data into your program. gINT has a great utility for creating correspondence files to match external data to the gINT structure. Others presumably have similar capability. We can help make gINT correspondence files as a paid support engagement.

What about Excel and csv Support?

Early on, we evaluated exporting to Excel and csv, and found it to be not really of interest to the industry, as those files are not as flexible or comprehensive as exports that are structured as database files. Both Excel and csv export was an early “skunk works” project, and although there may still be Excel and csv exports that show up as part of the export process those files are no longer supported, and likely any export to those formats will eventually be deprecated.

What are the file types of the xGEL exported data files?

Whenever you do an export, xGEL creates an industry standard MS ACCESS 2000 “.mdb” file, a gINT .gpj file ( which is just the .mdb file renamed as .gpj) , and a basic (as of now unsupported) Excel .xls and csv file.

The Excel export file (.xls) has various tabs for the underlying data. You can open these files in Excel, and take a look at them. Note that the xGEL Excel export file and csv files are not as comprehensive as the exports that are structured as database files. Also note that Excel and csv export was an early “skunk works” project, and is not further supported. Indeed, we know of no user who works with any of the .csv export files, and only one user who uses the Basic Excel export for rudimentary purposes.

How can I get around the gINT correspondence file thing?

If your data template is the same as the gINT us std.gdt then you should be able to get around having to use a correspondence file. Note that some labs have changed their data template to have field names in the gINT data tables of "Project Number" instead of "Number", and in this case you will need to create a correspondence file to let gINT know that what it sees as "Number" in the xGEL data structure will have to be put into the field that your gINT template calls "Project Number".

How do I get my test data out of xGEL Labmate and into gINT, or my other log software such as BoreDM?

Hit the "Export" button, and xGEL will create a .mdb file, and a gINT .gpj file (which is actually a MS Access .mdb datafile) , either of which can be used as the source for import into gINT, BoreDM, OpenGround, GeoDin or RsLogs using their feature set. Of course, the .gpj file can also be opened directly in gINT.

We have a long history with successful importing of xGEL exports into gINT, and we know that BoreDM, a newcomer to the gINT replacement market, has created a feature set that can use the xGEL export files, and bring data into its structure, with one of our clients reporting successful imports. Call us if you have questions about these others.

Can I export from xGEL more than once?

Yes. Each time you export the xGEL creates a file that has the number of the project an underscore and a number as the file name. For example 98-7872_1.gpj . The 98-7872 is the project number and the _1 indicates that this is the first export of the data from xGEL. The latest export will have the highest index number. Many labs use this feature to make milestone exports at various stages of the project completion.

Where is the export file placed?

The export files are placed in a folder under the xGEL Program. This folder corresponds to your project name.

For example:

“C:\xGEL Data Systems\xGEL LabMate 2023\xGel Data Files\xGEL Lab Data PDFs and gINT Exports\xGEL Lab Data PDFs and gINT Exports\[Your Project Number/Name]\ Most Recent\98-7872_1.gpj”

In certain cases they can also be exported to a thumb drive.

Does an export overwrite my data?

No. Each export creates a unique export file having the incrementing suffix added.

Does xGEL do any backups of my data?

No. That is your responsibility. In addition, xGEL recommends that you export frequently, and that you back those files up to a location off of the computer running xGEL.

Where are the exported projects stored?

They are stored in the folder mentioned above

I noticed that my export files have what appears to be an index number at the end of them. What is that all about?

Each time you export the xGEL creates a file that has the number of the project, an underscore, and a sequentially increasing number as the file name. For example: 98-7872_1.gpj or 98-7872_2.gpj.

For example, 98-7872 is the project number, and the _1, indicates that this is the first export of the data from xGEL. The latest export will have the highest index number. Many labs use this feature to make milestone exports at various stages of the project completion.

Do I need an internet connection to run xGEL?


Who is responsible for maintenance and repair, etc of the computer running xGEL, and your network?

You are.

Does xGEL provide any support in these areas?


What about support?

Because xGEL software is so simple to learn and use, after initial training (which lasts about 1 hour) Basic Support for internal-to-xGEL-issues is included in the fee you pay. In a nutshell, you call us, and we talk you through issues, or direct you elsewhere. Our “Help” is with internal to xGEL issue resolution, while things pertaining to your network, or your equipment, and all that kind of thing has to be handled by your IT, or other departments.

A reason for this basic support being free, is that xGEL is pretty much like a hammer, and hammers rarely “break”. Indeed, in the past twenty years, outside of beta deployments, we have fielded maybe ten or so “support calls”. Thus, if an internal feature of xGEL is not working the way we intended, then we want to take a look at that on our dime as part of our embarrassment and self flagellation. For example, if we formatted a data field as a number when it should be text, or mis-spelled the word xGEL, or if when the user clicks the “Export” button nothing happens, then that for sure is something we want to have our internal tech support jump on.

Otherwise, if, for example, you have to tweak your firewall and filters at your end to allow xGEL communications with our server, or set things up at your end to allow the SendMail feature of xGEL get past any corporate or other filters, or you need to set up user groups with permissions, or if you want LabMate to operate a non-standard way because of your internal or other preferences, or, if your network connection is having problems, have failing computers or other equipment, etc. then we can't help.

Essentially, the intent of xGEL Data Systems. LLC, is to provide a simple “black-box” package that is easy-to-learn and easy-to-use, and directed at getting the labs out of the stone age associated with manual paper and pencil data collection. Because of this simplistic nature of things, the xGEL “Help Desk”, and training on use of the program is included in the present fee structure. A unique thing about xGEL Support is that if a user has a problem, then they contact us, and, most likely, one of the guys who wrote the code, or the guy who writes the checks, will “answer the phone” instead of the user being sent to voice or email hell, or being required to submit the dreaded “support ticket”.

What about feature requests/code change requests?

If you want special features, unique only to you, or a small sub-set of users, we do not change our code for those things. If we see feature or code change requests that we think will be applicable across the board, and we feel have benefits that outweigh the costs to develop, then we generally take note to add them to the list for possible inclusion in future builds.

What about training?

After the initial training session we provide to the lab user(s) as part of new-client deployments, we rely on the primary user of the platform to teach their other staff how to use and interact with the program. For example, xGEL will, for new clients, provide the initial on-line training session for those actually work at the testing bench, on how to use the platform, e.g. how to set up a project, how to enter borings, how to enter test assignments, how to set up sample zone templates, and things like that. This takes about 1 hr. After that, experience shows that users can start effectively using the program, and teach others how to use it. This arrangement is one of the reasons your fees are set at the economical levels that they are.

So then, after this initial training on new client deployments, those lab personnel trained will need to be the ones who train others in their lab, as that falls outside of xGEL’s scope, unless special arrangements , for additional fees, have been made for such additional services.

Based on paset experiences with users, and their questions, we include in the user facing interface, at various appropriate places, dedicated “Self Help” buttons, that when clicked, show information relating to things that users can do “Self Help” on.

In addition, on our website, under the “Support” link, there are links for:

“Tips and Tricks ( a.k.a. “How do I...”)” and “Troubleshooting and Errors”

Do you provide IT/Network Support?

No. Those actions and troubleshooting are for your internal IT department folks to handle, and given below are some examples of such things.

As mentioned elsewhere, xGEL needs an internet connection to operate, and so internet connectivity and how that is accomplished is for the client to set up and manage.

As also mentioned elsewhere, regarding how charges are made, xGEL communicates with our server to upload the tests that are assigned into the platform, and so web/network connectivity is required. In addition, when users have questions about something going on with xGEL, or need a quick refresh on how to do something, then there has to be internet connectivity to establish a remote help session. (We use ConnectWise for the support session.)

As other example, xGEL has the ability to send job progress emails, via an SMTP relay, from within xGEL, without having to have contact with any of the client’s email credentials. Because of this, if the client wants to have this feature available, then they need to have their IT and network security folks white-list incoming SMTP relay emails from xGEL, which some filters trap as communications originating from outside their corporate email.

In multi-station installs, the Sub-Stations have to have access to the xGEL data folders and files on the Master-Station, and be able to read and write to the xGEL database(s). This will require the client’s IT to set up the proper share, and set the proper permissions for such interaction to take place. Have your IT folks contact us fro more information of the specifics.

Do you have some 500 page user or tech support manual for clients?

No. We don’t have even a five page user, or technical support manual, as we have found that there is no need for such things due to the way xGEL is structured and the ease with which the initial training on use of the system “takes” with the lab users. If xGEL ever got to the point where such things were needed, then xGEL would not be xGEL any more. Things needed are coded directly into the software itself, or posted on our web site.

Does xGEL “Break”?

Just to let you know, xGEL software behaves extremely well for our existing production lab clients, and we think it will sufficiently behave for you too, with minimum calls to us, or anybody else (including any of your corporate departments), for “Help”. Yes, your in-house folks may get an occasional call about how you have lost internet connection, or about xGEL not “firing up” because of a MS Windows Background Update being in progress, etc, but those are few and far between, and are effectively handled at the client end.

In closing this topic, all of us at xGEL have felt the pain at the testing bench - indeed THAT is exactly why xGEL was created -because WE were tired of seeing complicated, inefficient, and cumbersome processes in the lab. So, take that as our desire and motivation to ship stuff that is simple, pretty much works, and reduces the need for Help Desk or tech support. “Simple is Best” is our line of thought.

Is xGEL Software Enterprise Level?

Yes. xGEL software synergistically operates inside of, and along side of, your Enterprise environment, and makes your company money, day in and day out, without headache, friction, and overhead. In essence, xGEL software is an “Enterprise Accelerator”.

Our focus is Production Process - Getting data electronically off the test bench for our suite of test assignments, and processing it so it can be used for higher level programs - without all the hand recording using the pencil and paper method, and without all the typing in of test data into boring logs that presently occurs in many labs. XGEL software is created and deployed for users on the test bench, and for users creating boring logs, allowing them to be much happier, and much more productive, and allowing companies that use it a significant competitive advantage.

Interestingly, as the previous FAQ mentions, xGEL software itself is designed so that it very rarely “breaks”. Indeed, sometimes we feel like the lonely Maytag repairman, but that is a good thing, right?

Is xGEL software scalable in an enterprise environment?

Of course. One of the reasons for this is that the we did not design our software to be the end-all and be-all of geotechnical engineering software, with a bazillion confusing bells and whistles, which, many times are used to “sell” the software to a prospect who writes the checks, instead of for users on the bench who actually will be using it. (In this light, one of our users, who had a direct pipeline to the owner who wrote the checks, said that the simplicity of the interface, and how to use it, was a major factor in wanting to bring it into his laboratory. Again, as with many things, Simple is Best.)

As mentioned elsewhere in this set of FAQ’s, xGEL software is like a hammer, and hammers are easily and infinitely scalable because they are easy to use, and NOT created to be nail-guns.

Are you Cloud Based?

No. There are pros and cons to the cloud, and our code and its databases and other files are local installs on the actual computers in your lab that use the software. If you want speed and efficiency, the best option many times is to “shop local”.

Can I have multi-station installs where multiple computers can access a master database?

Yes. In multi-station installs, there is a Master-Station, and one or more Sub-Stations that utilize the database on the Master-Station. Your corporate IT will need to set up the networking and the folder shares to connect these stations. They can call us to discuss when things get to that level of wanting multiple stations.

Are there additional fees to have a multi-station install?

No. Not at this time.

How Can I Get xGEL.

The first step is to contact us, and make a verbal expression of bona-fide interest. After some initial discussion, and our answering of your questions, and your answering of ours, if all seems in order at our end, and at your end, we will send you a link that you use to create your account.

Once you get this link and create your account, and thereby agree to the licensing terms, which are part of the account application process and which cover ALL xGEL Software and Services, we will then do an application acceptance review. After that, we will contact you about status, and subsequent setting up for software installation.

About bona-fide interest mentioned above - xGEL is deployed via word-of-mouth referral, and provided to firms that know us, and who we know, or, provided to new firms when a previous xGEL user transitions to another company.

We do not sign up users “blind”. We are professionals, providing Software-as-a-Service (Saas) into a professional market, and not to put too fine a point on things, do not have time for window shoppers. xGEL software and the xGEL SaaS is not for all, nor is it open to all. People who become clients are those who, on first seeing xGEL, immediately know that they want it, knowing on-sight what it is, what it can do, and how it can give them advantage. xGel is not, therefore, “sold”. It is brought into companies by Visionaries and Early Adopters who consider us as Value Added partners to their business, just as we consider them as Value Added Partners to ours.

Can anybody get an account?
Are accounts granted to everybody that applies for one?
After I submit my "Create Account" information, am I guaranteed an account?

No. The xGEL Service and the software are the licensed sole physical and intellectual property of xGEL Data Systems, LLC, and granting of an account, and continued use of the Software and the xGEL Data Systems, LLC Service, is solely at the discretion of xGEL Data Systems, LLC.

Are the xGEL databases or its code open to inspection? Are xGEL databases or its code open to use outside of xGEL provided services?

No. The code and the databases are the protected trade secret and intellectual property of xGEL Data Systems, and are licensed under an obligation of confidence, and are provided under the terms of the licensing agreement, which prohibit such things. Such things are considered misappropriation.

What is a Superuser?

A SuperUser is the person who controls the UserID and Password to log in to your internet xGEL Account.

A SuperUser has full access rights to the online account. A SuperUser can change any of the account information. A SuperUser, once logged into the account, has access to the credit card information used to set up the account.

How is this different from just a "User"?

A User is a person who can use the xGEL software that is installed on a target machine. For example, the lab technicians doing the testing would be thought of as Users, whereas the responsible party who set up the account, and put in the credit card information, would be the SuperUser.

A User cannot log into the online account.

Are there xGEL “Users” within the xGEL program itself?

Yes. After you get xGEL installed, you can set up, on the xGEL machine, the list of the xGEL users. Users can be lab testing personnel, or others (like the engineering project managers) who will be consumers of the test data. Part of the initial training is to show how to add users to the lab xGEL platform.

Why do you charge based on testing that I assign, rather than tests that I actually do?

Whether you do the work or not, we have already done the work of providing the system, and setting up the proper data forms according to the tests assigned. In addition, it is way easier for us to collect, and track, and charge for assigned tests, than it is for us to track and charge the other way.

Is there any "base charge" for the service? Like, if I go a couple months without any jobs to assign, do I get charged anything? Is there some monthly fee?

No. If you do not assign or change up any tests, then there won't be any more charges.

Does xGEL collect any data on me?

Yes. We have all your account information and we collect various usage stats for our internal use.

Do I have to pay an up front license fee for the software or the service?

No. Not under the current license model.

Can you provide on-site training and setup?

We can, but that will incur additional fees.

Can I stop using the xGEL service anytime I want to?


Does xGEL sell hardware?

No. You need to deal with the hardware manufacturers to get a compatible system.

Is there a termination fee if I quit using the xGEL service?

No. Not unless you and xGEL have agreed differently.

When do I get charged?

When you click the "Finalize" button in the xGEL test assignment interface, and a yellow icon in the test assignment cell, changes from yellow to green, those yellow-to-green assignments are uploaded to our server and put into the queue for the automated charge that will be made according to your fee-and-charging schedule that is linked to the credit card linked to your account. Presently, we aggregate the test assignment counts, and charge on the First and Fifteenth of each month.

Are xGEL charges itemized by project?

No. If you do 300 moisture tests over 12 projects, all those moisture tests will show up as a single line item on the charge document.

Why don’t you have a user’s manual or a support manual for the client’s internal support desk?

xGEL is a “black-box”, and is designed to be an easy to train-by-showing, easy to learn-by-doing, and easy-to-use-by-doing-more-of-it. In this vein, our efforts are devoted to making software directed along the lines of NOT having to create, or have, any Users Manual, or Operations manual, or Technical Support/Inner Workings manuals for clients, detailing “how to do this, and how to do that”, or “how what is done is done”.

There is, from time to time, material posted to the website that address various things, but quite frankly, things generally do not come up in sufficient frequency such that they can’t be handled by a phone call.

Technical documentation is a huge and costly task for enterprise software companies, and THAT is one of the reasons why Enterprise software has such a high price point. We are not Enterprise company, because if we were, sure, we would have a 500 page users manual, but then we would have to charge huge fees, be grouchy, slow to respond, a PITA to deal with, and have to change our name to “The Cable Company”.

We spend our efforts on the software itself, and not creating documentation on “Push this button over here to do that over there.” If you take a look, for example, at all the documentation material for gINT, and many other packages, you can see that there was an extreme amount of effort put into that class of work, and that it is voluminous so as to cover many things. You will also likely see, or perhaps already know, that few people use it or refer to it! If you have any experience with training gINT operators, you will know that most operators are trained by someone at the company who knows “What button to push to do that over there”, and that very few gINT operators read any of the user manuals. You will also likely know that technical support for these software packages, is provided to the clients by the Software Service Providers, and not delegated to the IT, or other department at the licensed client/enterprise.

Again, xGEL software is purposely designed to be a train-by-showing, and learn-by-doing platform, and the fee levels are what they are because of the decision to NOT create content that will not be read. We simply do not have the time, at this time to be writing user manuals, or Help Documentation other than what we, from time to time, post to the web-site. Perhaps at some other time that will change, but so too, will the use and license fees.

All the above said, we DO have areas on the website (Tips and Tricks) and (Troubleshooting and Errors), etc. that have a few items, BUT, the reason there is not a plethora of items, is because issues have never come up in sufficient frequency to warrant additions. Certainly, as issues, or common “How do I do xyz ” questions crop up, we may add another item or two, but again, xGEL is pretty much like a hammer as opposed to a nail-gun.

Speaking of Hammers, do Hammers need user Manuals?

Hammers do not need 500 page use manuals, nail guns, maybe so. Yes, under the hood, we have many moving parts, but those parts, over our long experience, have not caused sufficient issues such as would warrant a write up, or provision of support, in any way other than how we have been doing it for the last twenty years (The Contact Us model). Indeed, even some of the write-ups we did years ago, when we were thinking to start on the “everything had to be documented” road, have been accessed only a few times, and indeed, the entire Support page is infrequently accessed - so infrequently that you will find likely find outdated material there.

The reason for this “leanness” in the area of documentation is that the xGEL support “CALL US” paradigm, where, very likely, one of the people who wrote the code, or writes the checks, will get back in touch with you, has proven to be the best way to handle things, so we stopped trying to the marketing “puff up, and concentrate on what we do est - Helping Labs Turn Their Dirt Into Dollars.

If I use xGEL will I get more dates?

People who have converted their operations to xGEL have reported that they do indeed get more dates, and have more fun. We think that this is because they are less stressed out at work, and that this carries over into their relations outside of work.

If I use xGEL will I get better looking?

Some people have reported this as a side effect, but even we seem suspicious of the claim. I am the product manager of xGEL, and I keep looking in the mirror, but the only thing that is happening is that more and more of my hair is falling out.