5
THE NEXT DECADE

SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT TYPE OF GEOSCIENCE MAP IN THE NEXT DECADE

Respondents were asked “Is there a single most important type of geoscience map you will need in the next decade?” The answer was overwhelmingly, “large-scale geologic maps.” The question was in essay form, and allowed respondents unrestricted latitude in their answers; they did not have to choose from a preselected list of possibilities. Responses (other than negative responses) were indicated on 62 percent (689) of the returned questionaires. Table 37 (Appendix G) summarizes approximately 85 percent of the affirmative answers. The remaining 15 percent included map types such as soils, geomorphic, fault, geochemical, and geothermal; these received 1 to 11 (0.1 to 1.6 percent) responses each.

Large-scale geologic maps were requested almost 3 times more than the next most frequently cited map type. The high percentage of subsurface structural contour maps reflects the large segment of the respondents engaged in activities related to the oil and gas industry. Large-and small-scale base maps combined make up about 11 percent of the most-sought map type for the next decade, a fact that emphasizes the importance of an accurate base map for almost any earth-science-related work. Small-scale geologic maps combined with the top-ranked large-scale geologic maps make up 40 percent of the most-requested map types.

The requests for geophysical maps were unexpectedly low, and might partly be explained by the format of the question, because much geophysical work is published as cross—sections, not maps.



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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs 5 THE NEXT DECADE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT TYPE OF GEOSCIENCE MAP IN THE NEXT DECADE Respondents were asked “Is there a single most important type of geoscience map you will need in the next decade?” The answer was overwhelmingly, “large-scale geologic maps.” The question was in essay form, and allowed respondents unrestricted latitude in their answers; they did not have to choose from a preselected list of possibilities. Responses (other than negative responses) were indicated on 62 percent (689) of the returned questionaires. Table 37 (Appendix G) summarizes approximately 85 percent of the affirmative answers. The remaining 15 percent included map types such as soils, geomorphic, fault, geochemical, and geothermal; these received 1 to 11 (0.1 to 1.6 percent) responses each. Large-scale geologic maps were requested almost 3 times more than the next most frequently cited map type. The high percentage of subsurface structural contour maps reflects the large segment of the respondents engaged in activities related to the oil and gas industry. Large-and small-scale base maps combined make up about 11 percent of the most-sought map type for the next decade, a fact that emphasizes the importance of an accurate base map for almost any earth-science-related work. Small-scale geologic maps combined with the top-ranked large-scale geologic maps make up 40 percent of the most-requested map types. The requests for geophysical maps were unexpectedly low, and might partly be explained by the format of the question, because much geophysical work is published as cross—sections, not maps.

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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs MAP INNOVATIONS A last question, also in essay format, asked “Are there any innovations in geoscience maps you would recommend?” Responses were included on 338 (31 percent) questionnaires. The nature of the responses was quite varied, but included few innovations; most responses stressed instead the respondents’ major concerns or problems regarding use, quality, availability, timeliness, or production of maps. The question was used by many as a vehicle for a general commentary related to geoscience maps, their production, or the geoscience profession in general. Responses that did address the question fell into one or more of four categories: The need for additional high-quality (ground truth) data. A need for a ready and inexpensive means for data manipulation. Development of improved ways to portray and present map and map-based data. A ready means to determine where data reside and how they can be accessed. In the first category, 23 responses stressed the need for new, high-quality, field-based, detailed, general-purpose geologic maps. A map standard referred to by several respondents as a standard to be attained is the USGS GQ-series maps. Several other responses stressed field-collected geologic data, but were less specific about what type of data. The need for increased accuracy (revision) was stressed in 16 responses. In the second category, a need was indicated in 19 responses for computer-stored, easily retrievable, manipulable geoscience data. Ten more responses specified the storage and retrieval of geologic map data. Twenty-two responses indicated a need for computer/digitally produced maps. In the third category, 17 respondents stressed the importance for improved geologic map formats, improved clarity of map presentation, and improved nature (better durability) of map base material. Nineteen respondents desired innovations in legible overlays to present a variety of geological and geophysical parameters. Fourteen responses indicated a need for improved means of three-dimensional data depiction, including the use of holography.

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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs In the fourth category, nine responses emphasized the need for better knowledge of what geoscience data exist, where they exist, and how they can be accessed. Those responses not addressing the question directly, but using it as a vehicle for commentary, included a number of responses pointing out that the length of time it took the federal government to produce geologic maps was far too excessive. Other respondents indicated they felt the federal government was not producing geologic maps in acceptable quantities. Other comments indicated that users thought that many of the more recently published, publicly available geologic maps lacked sufficient ground truth to serve the users’ purpose.