The people, science and technology behind discovery

Subscribe to the Magazine

Get new articles sent directly to
your mailbox.


Join the network

Twitter Updates Group Forum

Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.


News & Views

News Archive

August 17, 2016

New IGS Xplore prospectivity maps for Botswana

International Geoscience Services have released a series of base metal prospectivity maps for the Ngamiland District of northwestern Botswana using free geodata available on the recently-launched Botswana Geoscience Portal, hosted by Geosoft. The maps identify favorable areas for copper, zinc and lead mineralization using geological, geochemical and geophysical datasets downloaded directly from the portal.

August 11, 2016

NexGen Makes New High Grade Discovery

NexGen Energy reported the discovery of a new high grade zone of mineralization 4.7 km northeast of the Arrow Deposit as part of an on-going summer drilling program on its 100% owned, Rook I property, Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

August 10, 2016

Rampion UXO Disposal to Take Place This Week

E.ON has confirmed that the two unexploded devices, detected along the Rampion offshore cable route will be safely disposed this week following the consultation with the Marine Management Organisation...

August 9, 2016

Diamonds In The Rough: E&Ps Find New Reserves In Mature Basins

The oil industry’s history demonstrates clearly that new plays and prospects have long been found in mature basins that were thought to be well on the way to being squeezed dry. Through the acquisition of new data, developing new concepts and coming up with fresh interpretations, long-producing basins around the world from the North Sea to Malaysia have continued to reveal new riches...

August 8, 2016

Northern Shield Identifies High Quality VTEM Targets at Séquoi

Northern Shield Resources announced the results of the interpretation and modelling of the VTEM survey from the Séquoi Property in the Labrador Trough of Quebec . Séquoi is owned 100% by Northern Shield and is being explored for Noril'sk style Ni-Cu-PGE massive sulphides. After geophysical modelling and interpretation of the VTEM data from Séquoi, six VTEM anomalies of significant interest have been identified...

August 3, 2016

Rio Tinto tailors big data drive to copper

Rio Tinto will put the weight of an exploration big data push and its newly-formed Growth and Innovation group behind its desire to identify a "tier 1" copper asset. Speaking at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said Australia was "overdue for a tier 1" mineral discovery of any type...

August 1, 2016

Tetra Tech Awarded $200 Million Navy CLEAN Contract

Tetra Tech announced that it has been awarded a $200 million, single-award contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic. Through the Comprehensive Long-term Environmental Action Navy (CLEAN) contract, Tetra Tech will provide environmental engineering support services to installations within the NAVFAC Atlantic Area of Responsibility...

May 3, 2016

NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners announce "Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons"

This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer...

April 12, 2016

Monday mad rush for gold stocks

Renewed optimism about the outlook for gold saw investors pile back into gold stocks, pushing many stock to 52-week highs in heavy volumes...

April 11, 2016

Medgold Resources: Continues to Expand the Boticas Gold Project, Portugal; Proposes $200,000 Private Placement

Medgold Resources is pleased to announce new assay results from contiguous rock-chip sampling from the Limarinho South zone at its Boticas gold project in Portugal, which include a highlight of 6.0m @ 5.7 g/t Au...

April 8, 2016

De-carbonizing our energy sector

Nuclear energy currently provides around 11 percent of the world's electricity. China, the European Union, the United States, India, Russia, South Korea, and other nations’ have major existing fleets...

April 1, 2016

Follow-Up Drilling Results Indicate Wide Gold Zones at Hendricks Gold Discovery

Gascoyne Resources Limited announced that it has received the final assay results from the 10,000 metre aircore exploration drilling programme...

March 26, 2016

The Oil Market Is Finally Hitting Its Breaking Point

After a significant reduction in investments over the past two years, oil companies can no longer overcome the production declines from legacy wells...

March 15, 2016

N-Sea Expands into the French Offshore Wind Industry

Subsea IMR provider, N-Sea, has signed a letter of intent with CERES Recherches & Expertise Sous-Marine and TechSub Industrie Environement, to provide subsea survey, installation and remediation services to the French offshore wind industry...

March 9, 2016

PDAC 2016 Convention Exceeds 22,000 Attendees

Optimism and opportunity abounded at the PDAC 2016 Convention of The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in spite of recent industry challenges...

March 3, 2016

6 Alpha Launches EOD Contracting Division

6 Alpha Associates, a specialist risk consultancy practice, with expertise in the assessment and management of unexploded ordnance, has launched a dedicated explosive ordnance disposal division...

February 10, 2016

Cameco's new uranium discovery revealed

Canada's top uranium producer has a significant new discovery nearby to one of its largest existing mines...

February 9, 2016

NexGen Drills Most Intense Mineralization to Date at Arrow

NexGen announces further results from its on-going six rig 30,000 m winter 2016 drill program on its 100% owned Rook I Property in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

February 9, 2016

Rio Tinto scales up its big data ambitions

Rio Tinto is opening its "vast troves" of exploration data to junior explorers in the hopes they will help sift for opportunities and supply ideas and labour...

February 8, 2016

Online portal improves access to geoscience data from Africa

The Botswana Geoscience Institute is launching a Geoscience Portal...

February 8, 2016

5 Best Minerals & Fossils To Buy With Your IRS Tax Refund

You just got your IRS tax refund and now you're presented with some cash to go out and buy one of a kind minerals and fossils from your local...

February 5, 2016

World's largest offshore windfarm to be built off Yorkshire coast

Dong Energy makes final investment decision on 1.2-gigawatt project that will power more than a million UK homes...

February 2, 2016

World's top 10 rookie gold mines

These high-grade mines will soon start competing with gold mining's industry leaders ...

January 25, 2016

Exxon Mobil Corp's defiant outlook predicts Canadian and Venezuelan oilsands output will 'quadruple' over next 24 years

In sharp contrast to the grim medium-term prognosis for the Canadian oilsands, Exxon Mobil Corp. is predicting sunnier times for bitumen in the decades ahead...

January 23, 2016

Magnetic Survey Keeps Cost Down

At a contaminated furniture factory site in North Carolina, a reconnaissance magnetic survey was conducted toward the end of a Phase 2 investigation ...

Exploration and GIS: Closing the Productivity Gap

by Carmela Burns and Virginia Heffernan

 

Exploration and GIS

Geologists can now create and share their 3D models across Geosoft and ESRI ArcGIS environments.

Exploration software and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are essential for geologists searching for petroleum and mineral deposits. With discoveries harder to find, geoscientists are collecting more data than ever before and examining their findings with greater scrutiny.

The key to keeping the whole process efficient and focused is technology.

GIS and exploration software has come a long way in the past 10 years, especially visualization and 3-D modeling. But, until recently, the inability to work and share data between earth mapping software like Geosoft and ESRI’s ArcGIS application environments has left a gap for explorers.

As software developers on both sides of the gap begin to collaborate, technology and solutions are now evolving to allow geoscientists to share data easily between their mapping and GIS environments.

Geographic information systems have been used for 2-D mapping for decades; however, the limited ability of GIS to visualize below the earth's surface means exploration companies have had to resort to work-arounds. As a result, geoscientists tend to store their geological, geophysical and geochemical information in one database, and their surface spatial (GIS) data in another, with no efficient way of merging the two.

Although geoscientific data can be moved in and out of a GIS environment, doing so is time-consuming and can result in lost, changed or corrupted data.

For consulting geophysicists like Michal Ruder, whose livelihood depends on delivering accurate, up-to-date maps to clients in the oil and gas sector, recent advances in integrated GIS exploration tools mean smoother workflow and higher productivity in both 2D and 3D environments.

"Most of the time I work with gridded data, and I can manipulate it with ease using Geosoft exploration software, Oasis montaj and Target," says Ruder, who is principal of Denver-based Wintermoon Geotechnologies. "That's not the whole solution, though, because after I've processed the gridded data, I need to integrate it with vector data. That means putting my magnetic and gravity data into the geographic context of my exploration problem."

Exploration and GIS

Fence diagram generated using Geosoft's Target for ArcGIS extension software.

After moving the data into ESRI's ArcGIS, Ruder uses Geosoft extension software, Target for ArcGIS, to see geographic and other associations. She then searches for patterns in the Geosoft grids and ArcGIS vector data.

Geosoft is working to close the exploration GIS gap entirely with its recent introduction of earth mapping software that has ArcGIS Engine technologies built in. The new generation of Geosoft Target and Oasis montaj software allows geoscientists to work seamlessly between their Geosoft and ESRI environments using ESRI technology to display Arc.mxd and .lyr files without leaving the Geosoft environment.

The breakthrough is expected to boost productivity and result in smoother workflows for geoscientists in both the private and public sectors. It will also prevent data from being changed or lost.

"With this software, geoscientists have greater flexibility and control in achieving the results they need," says Louis Racic, Director of Product Management for Geosoft Inc.

Closing the gap between GIS and geoscience also benefits large companies with multiple users and data sets. The more integrated their exploration software is, the less likelihood of costly mistakes or missed opportunities for discovery.

Ana Maria Gonçalves is information manager for the exploration and project development division of Brazil-based Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Vale), one of the largest mining companies in the world with 14 regional exploration offices. "As we become more global, being able to share information and expertise with other regions is increasingly important," says Gonçalves. "In the past, our exploration applications didn't connect with our GIS. We had to make all sorts of conversions, and with data sets such as geophysical grids, you can lose important information when you try to convert the data to other formats."

Exploration and GIS

There is better access to exploration tools, such as this 3D lithology selector, within ArcGIS.

Adopting Geosoft Target for ArcGIS has done away with the need for data conversion, says Gonçalves. "Using Target for ArcGIS, our geoscientists can work with their geophysical, geochemical and geological data within the ArcGIS environment much more quickly and effectively."

On a broader scale, trends in mineral exploration show there's a need for better integration of GIS and geosciences. Most ore deposits with a surface expression have already been found, so 3-D information from the subsurface - particularly geophysical data - is becoming the main pathfinder to discoveries.

Taking a tool known for excellent spatial analysis on a 2-D plane and integrating it with software that can handle multiple 3-D data sets from the subsurface makes the search for these deposits a whole lot easier. It's a development whose time has come.