A conceptual architectural solution is shown in Figure 1. Its different layers are:
Data Repository Management
This layer provides APIs and connectors to multitudes of geoscientific data sources. The Spatial Data Engine is used to abstract the native data formats from the Web-based geo portal as well as other native client GIS applications. The unstructured content such as scanned images of geospatial maps get stored in Content Management repositories which can be accessed using metadata links. Real-time FSP project data and other geoscientific data can be stored in this layer.
Historical exploration as well as real-time data can be migrated to a data warehouse solution for providing intelligent decision-making capability. Tools are deployed to crawl multiple underlying geoscientific data sources for creating geoscientific metadata. This would enable spatial data searches including spatial extent and keyword searches. The typical metadata created are borehole geochemical data, sample reports, photos, topo sheet numbers, geological stream bed details, lithology, and mineralization data such as major or minor oxides. This geoscientific metadata gives the mining exploration companies much needed insights into geological, geophysical and geochemical composition of survey areas together with the mineral composition from the assay results.
Process and Service Integration
This layer caters to the GIS services, Business Services and Integration Services. GIS services refer to the Web Map Services, Web Coverage Services and Web Feature Services which help expose map data together with geoscientific data, features and geological layers onto a specialized Web portal.
Business Services refer to business rules definition for FSP, workflow management for data quality reviews, status monitoring and process orchestration specifically for collating lab samples results.
Integration services refer to data exchanges between third-party interfaces both internal/external to the enterprise.
Enterprise data security at the application level to ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability is maintained. Security could be enabled at multiple levels at the data, application, end-user device and network as per the customer organization IT security policies.
Information Delivery System
Refers to the publication of WMS, WCS and WFS services onto native GIS client applications such as ESRI ArcGIS desktop®, Pitney Bowes MapInfo® to name a few. Apart from the native client applications, geoscientific map data should be projected on a geoportal for enhanced viewing experience.
The channels for consuming the processed geoscientific data are many; notable among them are mobile phones, field going devices with GPS and desktops.
How is Data Captured?
The solution provides an integrated approach to managing and disseminating exploration data to relevant sets of stakeholders. The data capture during a field survey project occurs in three ways.
Satellite Imagery Data
Space and airborne satellite data is used for identification of minerals. Specialized GIS applications are used to interpret the spectral signatures of the underlying mineral deposits, else mining organizations would have to buy the interpreted data from third-party sources.
The data captured by these modes undergo quality checks and are analyzed before metadata creation and publication as WMS onto the visualization layer.
The data process flow diagram (See Figure 2) depicts how integrated mineral exploration data management solution helps in providing seamless consolidation and dissemination of exploration data.
Field Going Mobile Devices
Mobile applications running on Field Going Devices, which are handheld instruments with in-built GPS, are able to capture georeferenced data in online and offline modes. Pre-field survey information can be downloaded in a templatized format from the online geodatabase onto the mobile cache. This boosts field productivity due to reusing information collected from past surveys. Collaboration tools may also be considered for sharing ideas between field scientists and subject matter experts. The field geologists can synchronize the findings with the online server once connectivity is available.
Field surveys require variety of instruments depending on the survey undertaken such as gravity, magnetic, borehole geochemistry to name a few. The data collected is dependent on the type of survey instrument which is stored in files as raw data.