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GMEG - Mineral and Environmental Resources

Western Region Databases and Information Analysis



Project summary:

Mineral resource studies and assessments utilize geospatially located features (geologic map units, mineral deposits, drill holes, assessment tracts) associated with a wide range of geologic information. These data are best visualized in map format using a geographic information system (GIS).

Good database and GIS design is an important part of building and producing quality, reproducible mineral resource research results that are easy to use. Custom data models (database structures) often need to be designed to store the geologic information for ease in querying and analyzing the data in a GIS, to produce the desired map output(s), and to report research results; the ability to query the data and perform spatial analysis is an important aspect in designing spatial databases. Some data are not suited to storage in a GIS due to inexact location or footprint. These data can be stored in a tabular format or in a relational database, as opposed to a geospatial database in a GIS.

Geospatial data produced by other entities and organizations often need to be acquired and reviewed for applicability and usefulness to a particular research effort. If the data exist as maps in non-GIS format, they often can be georectified(and perhaps digitized to a vector format) for future use in a GIS. Several hundred (and perhaps even a thousand) geologic maps for countries and regions all over the world have already been acquired, converted to a raster format, and georectified for use in a GIS by the Global Mineral Resource Assessment Project. These georectified maps need to be stored for future use by geoscientists and spatial analysts in the USGS; most of the digital map images cannot be published due to copyright laws, plus it would take a considerable financial effort to regeorectify the maps if the digital files are not retained.


The primary objectives of the WR DIA project are to (1) collect and assimilate digital geospatial data in a standardized format to meet the Mineral Resource Program's (MRP) data needs for minerals-related research and assessments, (2) develop and improve analytical procedures for using geospatial data in MRP projects, (3) provide for more timely, better quality and reproducible mineral assessments, (4) provide easy access to the data, and (5) meet customer needs which require reporting the results of our work in a digital format that can be incorporated into GIS systems.

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