Digital Mapping Techniques '99 -- Workshop Proceedings
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-386


By David R. Soller

U.S. Geological Survey
908 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Telephone: (703) 648-6907
Fax: (703) 648-6937

The Digital Mapping Techniques '99 (DMT'99) workshop was attended by 91 technical experts from 42 agencies, universities, and private companies, including representatives from 30 state geological surveys (see Appendix A). This workshop was similar in nature to the first two meetings, held in June, 1997, in Lawrence, Kansas (Soller, 1997), and in May, 1998, in Champaign, Illinois (Soller, 1998a). This year's meeting was hosted by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, from May 19 to 22, 1999, on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. As in the previous meetings, the objective was to foster informal discussion and exchange of technical information. When, based on discussions at the workshop, an attendee adopts or modifies a newly learned technique, the workshop clearly has met that objective. Evidence of learning and cooperation among participating agencies continued to be a highlight of the DMT workshops (see example in Soller, 1998b, and various papers in this volume).

The meeting's general goal was to help move the state geological surveys and the USGS toward development of more cost-effective, flexible, and useful systems for digital mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis. Through oral and poster presentations and special discussion sessions, emphasis was given to: 1) methods for creating and publishing map products (here, ėpublishingî includes Web-based release); 2) continued development of the National Geologic Map Database; and 3) progress toward building a standard geologic map data model. Especially to support the interest in map preparation and publication, five representatives of the GIS hardware and software vendor community were invited to participate.

The three annual DMT workshops were coordinated by the AASG/USGS Data Capture Working Group, which was formed in August, 1996, to support the Association of American State Geologists and the USGS in their effort to build a National Geologic Map Database (see Soller and Berg, this volume, and The Working Group was formed because increased production efficiencies, standardization, and quality of digital map products were needed to help the Database, and the State and Federal geological surveys, provide more high-quality digital maps to the public.


I thank the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS), and their Chief and State Geologist, James Robertson, for hosting this very productive and enjoyable meeting. I especially thank Mindy James (WGNHS), who coordinated the meeting, provided excellent support for the attendees, and maintained the meeting's web site (see Appendix B). Her expertise and sense of humor are greatly appreciated. Thanks also to Mike Czechanski, Chip Hankley, Rilla Hinkes, Marcia Jesperson, Deb Patterson, Kathy Roushar, and Kathie Zwettler (all WGNHS) for helping with the meeting logistics, Phil O'Leary (U. Wisconsin) for allowing us to use the meeting facilities, and Dave Carlson (USGS) for setting up the online registration. I also note with gratitude the contributions of the following individuals: Tom Berg (Chair, AASG Digital Geologic Mapping Committee) for his help in conducting the meeting and for his continued support of AASG/USGS efforts to collaborate on the National Geologic Map Database; the members of the Data Capture Working Group (Warren Anderson, Kentucky Geological Survey; Rick Berquist and Elizabeth Campbell, Virginia Division of Mines and Geology; Rob Krumm and Barb Stiff, Illinois State Geological Survey; Scott McColloch, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey; Gina Ross, Kansas Geological Survey; Dave Wagner, California Division of Mines and Geology; and Tom Whitfield, Pennsylvania Geological Survey) for advice in planning the workshop's content and the suggestions to authors; and Adam Davis (USGS) for help with Appendix C. Finally, I thank all attendees for their participation; their enthusiasm and expertise were the primary reasons for the meeting's success.


The workshop included 32 oral presentations. Nearly all are supported by a short paper contained in these Proceedings. Some presentations were coordinated with Discussion Sessions, described below. The papers represent approaches that currently meet some or all needs for digital mapping at the respective agency. There is not, of course, a single ėsolutionî or approach to digital mapping that will work for each agency or for each program or group within an agency -- personnel and funding levels, and the schedule, data format, and manner in which we must deliver our information to the public require that each agency design their own approach. However, the value of this workshop, and other forums like it, is through their role in helping to design or refine these agency-specific approaches to digital mapping and to find approaches used by other agencies that are applicable. In other words, communication helps us to avoid ėreinventing the wheel.î

Most presentations ranged across a number of issues, so I make little attempt to organize the papers by topic. With my apologies to authors whose work I may not adequately describe, I provide here a brief description of each paper. For the sake of brevity, the lead or presenting author only is listed. Further information about the software and hardware referred to below and elsewhere in these Proceedings is provided in Appendix C.

  1. Gregory J. Allord (U.S. Geological Survey) -- development of the new National Atlas of the United States of America, a government-wide effort to deliver map information to the public.

  2. T. Wayne Furr (Oklahoma Geological Survey) -- evolution of digital cartographic methods at the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

  3. Todd Fitzgibbon (U.S. Geological Survey) -- an approach for creating, reviewing, and releasing digital geologic map products (paper not supplied).

  4. Diane E. Lane (U.S. Geological Survey) -- methods for digital geologic map production and database development in the Central Publications Group.

  5. Susan Muleme (Avenza Software Marketing Inc.) -- introduction to MaPublisher plugin for Adobe Illustrator.

  6. Alberto Berry (Hewlett-Packard Company ) -- current and future technologies for large format DesignJet plotters.

  7. David McCraw (New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources) -- challenges to integrating digital topographic bases with geologic maps.

  8. Robert Lemen (U.S. Geological Survey) -- creation of base map products in the USGS National Mapping Program.

  9. David R. Soller (U.S. Geological Survey) -- progress report on the National Geologic Map Database.

  10. David R. Soller (U.S. Geological Survey) -- special discussion session: proposed guidelines for inclusion of digital map products in the National Geologic Map Database.

  11. Rick Berquist (Virginia Division of Mineral Resources) -- authorship and citation of digital geologic maps and spatial data.

  12. Peter Schweitzer (U.S. Geological Survey) -- plain-language resources for metadata creators and reviewers.

  13. Mike Price (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.) -- introduction to ArcInfo 8: New GIS technology from ESRI.

  14. Skip Pack (Dynamic Graphics, Inc.) -- introduction to EarthVision: extracting information from 3D geologic models.

  15. Gary D. Latzke (U.S. Geological Survey) -- production methods and products in the series Ground Water Atlas of the United States.

  16. Xin-Yue Yang (Kentucky Geological Survey ) -- an ArcView tool for automating selection of map data from a geologic map database.

  17. Data Model Steering Committee -- special discussion session: development of a draft standard geologic map data model and the Steering Committee.

  18. Stephen M. Richard (Arizona Geological Survey) -- data model concepts, and thoughts on implementing parts of the draft standard geologic map data model.

  19. Donald L. Gautier (U.S. Geological Survey) -- applying the draft standard data model to single geologic map products.

  20. Boyan Brodaric (Geological Survey of Canada) -- using the draft standard data model as the basis for a web-based geoscience library prototype.

  21. Ronald R. Wahl (U.S. Geological Survey) -- problems in representing spatial objects with typical GIS software.

  22. Eric Boisvert (Geological Survey of Canada) -- a software tool for attributing geologic maps in the draft standard data model format.

  23. David R. Collins (Kansas Geological Survey) -- development of the Kansas Geologic Names Database, and possible links to the draft standard data model.

  24. Brian Berdusco (Ontario Geological Survey) -- functional analysis of GIS, development of digital mapping methods, and application to compilation of a geologic map.

  25. Warren H. Anderson (Kentucky Geological Survey) -- creating a statewide digital geologic map database.

  26. Gregory J. Walsh (U.S. Geological Survey) -- using GPS and hand-held computers for geologic mapping.

  27. Harold W. Baker (Missouri Geological Survey) -- applying ArcView to geologic map compilation and production.

  28. David R. Bedford (U.S. Geological Survey) -- creating a geologic map and digital photolibrary for management applications.

  29. Frank Ganley (Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys) -- review of agency mapping program, and update of progress in implementing digital mapping.

  30. Nick Tew (Geological Survey of Alabama) -- digital geologic map production, and geologic map applications to groundwater vulnerability studies.

  31. Steve Fryer (National Park Service) -- the geologic resources inventory program.

  32. Jeffrey M. Hyatt (Intergraph Corp.) -- overview of cartography and GIS products from Intergraph (paper not supplied).


More than 15 posters were exhibited throughout the workshop. These posters provided an excellent focus for technical discussions and support for oral presentations. Most are documented with a paper in these Proceedings, following the oral presentations.


To provide the opportunity to consider a topic in some detail, special discussion sessions were held. These addressed: 1) proposed guidelines for inclusion of digital map products in the National Geologic Map Database; 2) progress toward development of a draft standard geologic map data model; and 3) a general discussion of ideas presented during the meeting. Discussion session #1 led to revisions to the draft proposal (Soller, Duncan, Ellis, Giglierano, and Hess, this volume) and the recommendation to submit the guidelines to management for consideration. Session #2 provided increased understanding of the new process being used to promote development of the standard data model, and session #3 provided recommendations for new features to add to future DMT meetings.


At discussion session #3, it was decided that a fourth annual DMT meeting would be held, next year. While planning for that event, the Data Capture Working Group will carefully consider the recommendations offered by DMT'99 attendees.


Soller, D.R., editor, 1997, Proceedings of a workshop on digital mapping techniques: Methods for geologic map data capture, management, and publication: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-269, 120 p.,

Soller, D.R., editor, 1998a, Digital Mapping Techniques -- '98 -- Workshop Proceedings: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-487, 134 p.,

Soller, D.R., 1998b, Introduction, in: D.R. Soller, ed., Digital Mapping Techniques -- '98 -- Workshop Proceedings: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-487, p. 1-3,

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