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Abstract: The Application of Geographic Information Systems Technology to Geologic, Hydrogeologic, and Environmental Research
Berry H. Tew, G. D. Irvin
Spatial data are of primary importance in nearly all aspects of geological and hydrogeological research. In undertaking such research, it is fundamental that observations and phenomena be located in a georeferenced coordinant system in order to understand and visualize the distribution of these data and to discern their relationships to other observations and phenomena. For this reason, geologic studies are particularly well suited to take advantage of computer-based geographic information system (GIS) technology, which combines the data input, storage, retrieval, analysis, and manipulation functions of a relational database with automated mapping and data visualization capability. GIS allows data to be analyzed and visualized in ways that would be too time consuming, too cost prohibitive, or nearly impossible to perform using other methods. Geological applications for GIS and related technology range from basic management of locational data (e.g., water or hydrocarbon well locations, sample localities, land holdings, etc.) and associated attribute information to detailed geologic mapping and complex analyses and modeling of hydrocarbon reservoirs, aquifer systems, or drainage basins.
We have implemented GIS with the primary near-term function of supporting and enhancing our geological and hydrogeological research programs. Current research applications include monitoring and modeling of nonpoint source pollutant loadings to aquifer systems and drainage basins, delineation of public water supply wellhead protection areas, hydrogeologic flow modeling, and environmental monitoring. Examples from these studies serve to illustrate the applicability and efficiency of the GIS approach to geologic research.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND ASSOCIATED FOOTNOTES
Geological Survey of Alabama, P.O. Box O, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486
Copyright © 1999 by The Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies