Geological mapping goes 3-D in response to societal needs

Harvey Thorleifson, Richard C. Berg, Hazen A.J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The transition to 3-D mapping has been made possible by technological advances in digital cartography, GIS, data storage, analysis, and visualization. Despite various challenges, technological advancements facilitated a gradual transition from 2-D maps to 2.5-D draped maps to 3-D geological mapping, supported by digital spatial and relational databases that can be interrogated horizontally or vertically and viewed interactively. Challenges associated with data collection, human resources, and information management are daunting due to their resource and training requirements. The exchange of strategies at the workshops has highlighted the use of basin analysis to develop a process-based predictive knowledge framework that facilitates data integration. Three-dimensional geological information meets a public demand that fills in the blanks left by conventional 2-D mapping. Two-dimensional mapping will, however, remain the standard method for extensive areas of complex geology, particularly where deformed igneous and metamorphic rocks defy attempts at 3-D depiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-29
Number of pages3
JournalGSA Today
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


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