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The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab provides for the production and analysis of digital maps and other "spatial" data. This capacity allows MBMG investigators to create and display their field and laboratory data at a variety of scales with numerous layers of information.

GIS in the mainstream What’s new in GIS at the MBMG?

New Data Development Platform
The MBMG is migrating our GIS data development processes from an Arc/Info environment to an ArcGIS platform. The ESRI coverage platform served our GIS needs well for many years, but significant developments in data storage and delivery have made the transition an obvious choice. The coverage data model has been replaced by the newer geodatabase format. Geologic data can now be distributed and used without the need for advanced-level Arc/Info experience.

New Data Format Standard
A national effort is underway to standardize the data format for geologic maps and data among state geologic survey agencies. The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Project (NCGMP) is a USGS-sponsored program to develop standardized data layers for geologic data. The Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology has committed to using this standard. The NCGMP09 data format utilizes the ESRI file geodatabase format. For more information, visit the NCGMP website at: http://ncgmp.usgs.gov/. The Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology participates in both the STATEMAP and EDMAP portions of the NCGMP.

Web Mapping Services

The MBMG’s digital data availability has expanded to include web mapping services. These data sets are made available through our ArcGIS Server. This capability goes beyond the traditional ‘download this’ delivery model to make spatial data accessible online. This is primarily intended for users of the ArcGIS software from ESRI. As of November 2013, we are serving our 1:500,000 geology, our GWIC database, and our earthquake catalog. More map services are in the works and related web applications too, so stay tuned for updates.

For more information on geographic information systems and their role in today's technology, contact the USGS through their earth and environmental science internet resources.