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Concepts in Spatial Data-Base Systems for Exploration Decision Making

Boguslaw Kubica

Explorationists use maps in their everyday operations. Maps are a compact way of presenting information related to surface or subsurface features. The same data presented in tabular form would take many sheets of paper and often would be difficult to comprehend. Unfortunately, not all information can be presented easily in graphic form. Most data processed today, especially relating to hydrocarbon and mineral exploration, have a built-in geographic component. The links between nongraphic tabular data and graphic map layers are obvious, and if properly established, extremely valuable.

Different types of information are commonly stored under different computerized data bases and manipulated by different business entities. Although data could be transferred easily between the systems, geographic links are not easy to establish and therefore not easy to use. Integration of all types of geographically referenced tabular data with graphic map information, called spatial data-base system or geographic information system (GIS), makes a powerful tool for hydrocarbon and mineral exploration decision making.

Special spatial indexing references all data to a common factor of geographic location and allows the user to make real-time queries to a large data base from the graphic layer. Returns from the queries are received in graphic or tabular form, as selected. Diverse attributes and Boolean functions can be used in the queries to produce varied output from the same spatial data base. Content of the data base, relation between data files, and their internal format can be defined by the user.

Scientific, engineering, production, and economics data stored in one integrated spatial data base give an operator unlimited opportunities to use the system for technical and business analysis.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91037©1987 AAPG Southwest Section, Dallas, Texas, March 22-24, 1987.