Volume 24 Number 7
  • ISSN: 0263-5046
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2397


Increasing integration of exploration software including 3D data with broad-based GIS systems promises to improve discovery success rates and decision making, according to Louis Racic and Tim Millis of Geosoft. The mapping of the Earth’s subsurface is critical to understanding our capabilities and limitations with regard to mineral exploration, oil and gas resources, and environmental management. But until recently, visualizing beneath the Earth’s surface within GIS has been a complex technical challenge. There is the data challenge. Mining exploration companies work with huge quantities of geological, geochemical, and geophysical data. Expert handling and visualizing of these multiple data sets and maps has typically required specialized, standalone software. And there is the efficiency challenge. Exploration is a moving target. Geoscientists are increasingly called upon to edit and refresh subsurface information based on new data, and to combine datasets collected in a variety of formats, such as geophysics, geochemistry, and geology. However, in recent years we’ve seen increasing integration of exploration software with broad-based GIS systems. New methodologies for the way you can view and interpret subsurface data in the GIS environment have simplified and added new capabilities for the managing of drillhole, borehole, or monitoring well data sets, allowing processing of this data within GIS, as well as presenting the data in a meaningful and appropriate fashion. Today’s GIS subsurface visualization tools allow geoscientists to present data normally visualized on a map, or a set of separate maps, in an integrated fashion, as well as handle and process ‘surface’ data. Add to that, the ability to display drillhole, borehole, and other subsurface data in 2D and in 3D. Users can manipulate a huge volume of surface and subsurface geochemistry, geophysics, and geology data in 3D within a single or transparently-linked interactive environment. They can augment the drilling results or the environment where the data was collected. And they can plot geochemical surface data and query geological mapping regions. Armed with these tools, geologists can integrate all available data at every stage of an exploration program to gain a better understanding of the underlying subsurface geology, verify their assumptions, and share their ideas with others on their exploration teams.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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