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Abstract: The Application of Geographic Information Systems Technology to Geologic, Hydrogeologic, and Environmental Research

Berry H. Tew, Daniel G. Irvin

Spatially-referenced 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 coordinate 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.

The Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) has 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.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90983©1994 GCAGS and Gulf Coast SEPM 44th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, October 6-7, 1994