Dr Tim Rawling, CEO of AuScope
Earth and geospatial scientists are heavy users of data products. When industry geologists access spatial data from the field and the exploration office they require data products that are discoverable, searchable, interoperable and attributed with robust metadata.
Over the last decade AuScope has utilised NCRIS funding to provide a variety of data products including geophysical data (reflection and passive seismic, magnetotellurics and gravity), GIS layers from state and national geological survey organisations, hyperspectral core logging (National Virtual Core Library) and time-series geospatial data from GNSS and VLBI instruments – all delivered using AuScope GRID technologies based on the Spatial Information Services Stack (SiSS).
Perhaps one of the best examples of collaboration to deliver data products to industry users is the national Mineral Library. Working with researchers at Curtin University’s John de Laeter Centre and ANDS, AuScope has also supported the development of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). The project has produced an entirely new workflow, based around a TESCAN TIMA field emission scanning electron microscope, that allows metadata to be collected and recorded from the sample collection and preparation right through to data delivery and publication.
This process has facilitated the scanning of a large stockpile of mineral samples from across Western Australia that will produce a state-wide Mineral Library, allowing mineral explorers to better understand the composition of critical rock outcrop samples from all over the state.
This new NCRIS supported initiative provides a dataset that underpins both academic and applied research programs and is important for the economic future of Australia. Mining companies do a lot of heavy mineral analysis in research and development but, because there isn’t a baseline for mineralogy across each state, it is difficult to have full confidence in the heavy mineral data. This creates an issue for pinpointing where the next major mineral deposits are.
Having solid baseline data will help improve targeting, which in turn reduces the costs associated with exploration and supports new discovery.