Targeting Exploration Mapping Needs
Industry usage of drillhole and mapping
software is growing day-by-day.
This is largely due to speed and efficiency
advantages when dealing with
greater volumes and diversity of data.
Exploration projects can have upwards of
five hundred drillholes. As exploration projects
get bigger and the number of drillholes
and other datasets increase, effective software
has become essential for managing and
visualizing these large datasets.
Major and junior exploration companies
each bring their own unique and
diverse perspective to the business of exploration,
however, when it comes to mapping
software there is a common view on essential
requirements, and emerging priorities.
With so many options available, focusing
on the software functionality that you
require from your exploration mapping software
is considered a good strategy for maximizing
efficiency and your exploration
Power mapping for exploration
Mark Parker, Managing Director of
African Eagle Resources plc, a London AIMlisted
junior exploration company operating
in East Africa had a clear view of his needs
when looking for mapping software, "We
knew that what we needed was a good, computer-
based means of archiving and visualizing
our drillhole data."
Parker has been using Geosoft's mapping
system for geophysics and geochemistry
since 1990 and this past year African
Eagle added Geosoft's Target drillhole software
to their system. The ability to work
efficiently with all their data in one integrated
environment was a key consideration.
"Our Oasis montaj system provides a powerful
way of viewing and visualizing the
data," explains Parker "and it allows you to
combine different data sets, in different
ways, to make the best use of all the data
you have available."
Visualization has played a critical role in
African Eagle's exploration projects. "In a situation
where you don't have any outcrop,
which is typical in Tanzania, you're relying
very much on your drillholes to do basic geological
mapping, as well as actual mineralization
interpretation," says Parker. "In this
case, it's quite important that you have powerful
tools for visualization which allow you
to make the best use of the data you have and
to interpret the data to the maximum."
Integration with their Geographic
Information System (GIS) environment has
become a greater priority for African Eagle.
In addition to meeting internal needs, GIS
integration allows data to be shared effectively
with African Eagle's major exploration partners.
Exploration projects often involve two
or more companies working together within
joint ventures, option agreements and other
partnership arrangements. "As an example
the partner on one of African Eagles'
Tanzania projects uses ArcView," explains
Parker. "In working with them, we need to
supply formats that can be viewed in
ArcGIS. If we can supply things in native
ArcGIS so much the better."
Parker sees the market introduction of
Geosoft's Target for ArcGIS, a drillhole and
mapping extension for ESRI's ArcGIS, as a
positive step towards meeting their integration
needs. "Target for ArcGIS will allow us
to exchange our data, and particularly our
visualizations, as freely as possible with
Exploring in GIS
Julian Misiewicz, Consulting Geologist for Africa and Europe with Gold Fields International, a South Africa-based major global gold producer makes a distinction between essential and specialist-use mapping functionality.
"In exploration, you need three basics:
database software, a GIS package, and, definitely,
a drillhole processing package," says
Misiewicz. "All three are essential." Having
met those needs, if cost is not a factor, specialized
three dimensional modeling packages
are also very beneficial.
Gold Fields uses ArcGIS as its GIS
platform for exploration. Recently, they
purchased Geosoft's Target for ArcGIS for
its ability to provide integrated drillhole
plotting and surface mapping capabilities
in ArcGIS. "ArcGIS is an outstanding package",
says Misiewicz, "and Target provides
the facility to plot drillholes within
Using Target for ArcGIS drillhole mapping
software is quick and easy. It provides
the facility for drillhole plotting, as well as
surface mapping, contouring, plotting and
treatment of geochemical and geophysical
data in ArcGIS. One doesn't have to be a specialist
or geophysicist to process the data, and
a geologist working with multiple data sets
can do it easily using Target within ArcView.
Efficiency in data processing is important,
but ultimately the proof, and the
power, is in seeing your data. "The better
you can see and plot your data," says
Misiewicz, "the better you are able to
understand it, firstly, and the better you are
able to get the best value out of that data,
and to use it effectively throughout the
For many years, specialized exploration software, such as Geosoft's Oasis montaj has provided the ability to expertly visualize geophysical, geochemical and geological data within an integrated environment. "One of the things that Geosoft has been very good at, is visualization," says Misiewicz. "Oasis montaj is an excellent package for creating beautiful images of geophysical and geochemical data."
Visualization technology has come a
long way. Advanced rendering techniques
together with three dimensional modeling
applications have added a lot of power to the
way you can view and interpret your data.
Until recently, however, visualization
tools for exploration data in the GIS environment
have been very limited. This is rapidly
changing, as integration of exploration software
with broad-based GIS systems takes
greater priority in the industry. Target, as an
extension to ArcView, is seen as providing a
Using Target, geologists are able to
bring in a borehole, and plot the trace of that
borehole directly on their map. They can also
plot sections straight out of their ArcGIS
package, and are able to incorporate all the
information they have in their GIS package,
the geological mapping, the geophysics
images and the geochemistry in particular,
in their interpretations.
New exploration software is tasked with
meeting the growing need for seamless integration
of exploration datasets within the
broad-based GIS environment, while continuing
to meet the rigorous mapping and processing
requirements of geological users.
At the end of the day, explorationists
use computerized methods because it's
quicker and better than doing it by hand.
The key advantage that exploration drillhole
and mapping software, such as Target and
Target for ArcGIS, bring is the capability to
handle large volumes of data and visualize a
thousand or more drillholes at a time, allowing
geologists to create and revise maps and
sections quickly and easily, while formulating
and fine-tuning their understanding of
For more information on the software mentioned in this article, contact email@example.com