About the web site

Are you looking for help with information technology (IT)?

  • project manager
  • data manager
  • leading analyst and designer
  • support supervisor
But what you can find here?
Contact details for the Geoscience Gateway and other pages list on the site map.
Conditions of use, including copyright and disclaimer
The purpose of this web site and the Geoscience Gateway in particular.
Frequently Answered Questions
Tables for open-ended questions
Table 1 - Selecting your 'Geoscience Gateway' home page
Table 2 - The technologies/assets introduced by mineral surveying pioneers against the activity they were involved in
Table 4 - Computing advice options by yearly budget
Figure 5 - Checklist and recycle schema for computers, printers and mobile phones
Table 6 - utilisation of VML (vector markup language)in geological modelling
Table 7 - parallels between the XSL (T), eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transform technology and scientific and surveying records
Any other questions?

Contact details

The Editor, Computers in Geology
PARKSIDE South Australia
phone/fax/service +61 (8) 8271 1672
LinkedIn :

Outside of South Australian business hours, see these emergency numbers, videos and long-form resume. The Dirt-Info emergency numbers are optimised for mobile phone use.

You work in petroleum exploration, where you have unlimited budgets, we can't afford you, what can we do?

While most of my work has been in the energy industries, I specialise in the second tier computing systems that have been overlooked by the corporate IT departments. This is a good fit with the light computing research done by 'Computers in Geology' because it gives a baseline to build up solutions for these neglected areas. The results and in conjunction with the Geological Society of Australia, Logi-Tech Pty Ltd and Volante Group in Table 4 there is a range of advice to suit all budgets.

Table 4 - Computing advice options by yearly budget
AUD 1 - 10
  This Computers in Geology website that you are reading at the cost of some time at an Internet cafe.
AUD 10 - 1000
  The Specialist Group in Geological Education of the Geological Society of Australia and the Australian Geoscience Information Association have the geology-issues website and most recently the LinkedIn group AGIA - Australian Geoscience Information Association (Inc).
AUD 1000 - 10 000
  I am up to the 18th draft of the book The grimoire of geological computing - an observatory manual and geologist's notes" printed and published by Computers in Geology (free copies to paying clients, otherwise price on application). For a quick summary of this book, I have generated an EndNote XML library catalogue file, gateway.xml, for you to load into your bibliographic database to save you having to type up the reference. I have been a bit lazy as I am not sure that anyone will actually use it. So if you need more detail in the bibiographic record please let me know by e-mail and I will add the extra data you require.
AUD 10 000 - 100 000
  Logi-Tech Pty Ltd can provide turnkey systems including labour, anywhere in South Australia. Please contact Peter MOORE and mention this web site.
AUD 100 000 - 100 000 000
  please e-mail me for a recommendation
greater than AUD 100 000 000
  The Volante Group had a long association with Hewlett Packard who have a super computing group who can do anything that you want. Contact the management of your local HP Distributor for more information and an introduction.

Conditions of use

The Geoscience Gateway and other pages are compiled by Grant Jacquier as a free service for individuals and organisations interested in computer application for practical geoscience. For a history see the blog archive The geo-computing heritage of the Volante Group and Computers in Geology

Material on these Computers in Geology web-pages may be freely published provided acknowledgement of the source is given. To this end I have generated an EndNote XML library catalogue file, gateway.xml, for you to load into your bibliographic database to save you having to type up the reference. I have been a lazy as I am not sure that anyone will use it. So if you need more detail in the bibiographic record please let me know by e-mail and I will add the extra data you require.

All statements and analysis contained in this web site are opinion only based on information from various sources which the Editor believes to be correct. The Editor accepts no responsibility for persons acting solely on this information for any purpose. All readers are advised to get independent advice tailored to their individual circumstances.

Purpose of the Geoscience Gateway

main article Geological Databases: not set in stone link is the bibliography

The Geoscience Gateway has the general aim of demonstrating how web pages can be used for showing natural history data on a budget. Some of the objectives:

  1. A catalogue of geological computing web sites for those geoscientists working in Australia
  2. A glossary of geological computing terms
  3. The history, education, and resumes of current practitioners of geological computing.
  4. demonstrate some of the scripting to handle larger amounts of geoscience data

Mineral surveying, as an applied science, is the rational, earth logical introduction of a technology or asset to assist a human activity in the open environment. Even so, I am surprised at the number of people who have taken mineral surveying seriously. The pioneers I know of, are shown in Table 2. Against that are recommendations of a gateway page for each purpose. As for the present, to help your selection, I have included a list of people who I know have interest in mineral surveying. See also these sections:

Table 2 - The technologies/assets introduced by mineral surveying pioneers against the servile or vulgar activity they assisted.
with a nominated gateway web page (e.g. G or K) and favorite icons for any portals

[The favourite icon for the Wikisource web-site] [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]

Johannes Scotus Eriugena (circa 900 BCE) agricultura vestiaria architectura metallaria venatoria mercatura coquinaria
Hugh of St Victor (circa 1200 BCE) agriculturem lanificium theatricam armaturum venationem navigationem medicinam

[The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]

D, or K
[The favourite icon for the AusGIN (Australian Geoscience Information Network) portal website] [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site] [The favourite icon for the UniFi airLink website]

[The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]

I or L
[The favourite icon for the Data Metallogenica web-site] [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]

E or F
[The favourite icon for the Wikispecies web-site] [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]

[The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site] [The favourite icon for the flightradar24 web-site]

[The favourite icon for the British Geological Survey web-site]

William SMITH (1769 - 1839)   [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]   [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]   [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site]  
Louis-Claude de Saulces DE FREYCINET (1779 - 1842)           ports
William LIGHT (1786 - 1839)   Wakefield Plan towns roads parklands ports
Johannes MENGE (1788 - 1852) {Favourite survey   minerals     {Favourite
Robert HODDLE (1794 - 1881) gardens   towns      
John SNOW (1813 – 1858)             [The favourite icon for the LinkedIn web-site]
Thomas BURR (1836 - 1866) [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site] report        
Alfred Richard Cecil SELWYN (1824 - 1902)       [The favourite icon for the Geological Society of Australia web-site]    
George Woodroffe GOYDER (1826 - 1898)   Goyder's Line        
Tom H. TURNER (1854 - 1918)   36S parallel
    iron survey pegs  
George Hubert WILKINS (1888 - 1958) [The favourite icon for the The National Academies Press web-site]       [The favourite icon for the Wikipedia web-site] [The favourite icon for the USS Nautilus organization web-site]
Cecil Thomas MADIGAN (1889 - 1947)            
Reginald Claude SPRIGG (1919 - 1994) [The favourite icon for the Arkaroola wilderness sanctuary web-site]     coal, gas, uranium? [The favourite icon for the Wikispecies web-site] car, diving bell, plane
Daniel George MOYE (1920 - 1975)       rock-bolting Snowy Mountains pipelines
Nick ROCK (19?? - 19??)   computers          
Rod RYBURN (1942 - 2018)   [The logo for Ligno3D Designer software]      
COWAN, Jun     [The favourite icon for the OreFind web-site]      
FRANCOMBE, Kim   [The favourite icon for the ExploreGeo web-site]   [The favourite icon for the ExploreGeo web-site]      
FRASER, Clive        
JENKINS, Chris       [The favourite icon for the Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research (INSTAAR) web-site]  
MACONOCHIE, Paul   [The favourite icon for the GeoTek Solutions Pty Ltd web-site]   [The favourite icon for the GeoTek Solutions Pty Ltd web-site]      
ORR, Lisa & Tom      
LEGEND (for Table 2 as shown above with type-of-work and recommendation)
A: a focus for textbooks, famous schools and career planning 4 3
B: a focus for links to scientific computing web pages 2 3
C: a focus for retired geologists on domestic duty and emergency service. 4 3
D: a focus for drill rig supervisors and site managers. 1
E: a focus for Landcare officers, and eco-tourism operators.
F: these links are intended for pre-IPO exploration managers. 1
G: these links are intended for enthusiasts. 2
H: these links are intended for health and safety auditors.
I: these links are intended for a mine geologist.
J: this page is intended for geologists writing their own software.
K: this page is intended for geologists looking for work.
L: this page is intended for investors speculating on the ASX.
Landing page format
1 watch
2 tablet
3 desktop
4 touchtable or videowall
Table 1 - the URL for #gateway and #toy web pages or better

[The logo for the Australian Publishers Association] [The logo for the Geological Society of Australia web-site] [The favourite icon for the Mining and Exploration Australia and New Guinea gateway and portal website] [The logo for the Eagle Research Advisory website] [The favourite for the Geology Page website]

the Gateway tables

The catalogue of vendors used as the index is designed to be home page for small exploration companies who don't have their own software and hardware users homepage. Explorationists can use the links to get tips and help with their geological software. The general idea is to cram as many links in as possible on the one page.

The LinkedIn article, archived here as c2017003.pdf, gives a case study for selection of the dBase III link. The links themselves where possible bypass any splash pages or indexes and go straight to the content required. This is an attempt to optimise the speed with which an explorationist can get the information required.

show the availability of a website with an icon

Vendor home pages are linked via the vendor logos so should the explorationist want to have a more general enquiry or retrieve an address. The use of logos as links to the different service companies is taken from ideas of Dr Bob Williams, of the Defence and Science and Technology Organisation, who used logos on the Rapid Mapping project for the invasion of East Timor by the Australian military forces. He argues that with expert users who are familiar with icons of the companies involved, they can be very small and be more effective in communicating information. As an example he would replace a generic fuel depot symbol with the logo of the operating company and links to billing and account information. His argument in this case was that it could be combined with practical information, say that Shell depots weren't able to take Shellcard temporarily, and other depots must be used. For the explorationist, the logos which are called directly from the source web site, indicate that the particular web site is up and available for use. The disadvantage of this method is that every time the home page is refreshed, these images, of which many are much higher resolution than is needed, are downloaded again and this may push up the Internet services bill if there is a tight limit on how much can be downloaded.

allow fast downloads to portable computers

The web pages are hand coded in Microsoft Script Editor using basic HTML. This is to reduce the size of the page and optimise the transmission times to remote mine and field sites where telecommunications may be difficult or noisy. Geologists could possibly use it with mobile laptops on drill rigs. Please let me know how it went if you are actually doing this. I could always put the vendor logos on a separate page if the image downloading via mobile phone was a problem.

The use of KML, VML and then SVG; is to allow more diagrams to be used without the need for image compression servers used on the geological survey web-sites such as AusGIN given in the Figure 1 above.

a prototype for interfacing databases to web-pages

The Glossary of geological computing terms was originally published on disk as "Grant's Geological Toolkit". It had to be installed as a Windows cardfile and now putting it on the web gets rid of this step and allows me to automatically update it. I have moved from Windows cardfile to ISI ResearchSoft EndNote bibliographic database should anyone like a base for their own company dictionary (price on application). Most recently by using XSL(T) technology this has become a reporting tool, with these examples:

  1. legal.xml as per the section The first try of an automated list of regulations of the Legal webpage.
  2. grimoire.xml as per the section Table of geophysical processing algorithms of the Sketching webpage.

more on automatic reporting

The bibliography section is to promote geological computing in its widest sense and encourage those practicing to continue and others to join us in our agony. At times it is an unrewarding profession and perhaps we do have more than our fair share of drug dependency, depression, stroke and suicide. However, I find an historical perspective reminds me that my stereotypical antithesis, the fame-seeking city philosopher with clean hands and gentle language, hasn't contributed as much to the science as I give him credit for. When it comes to helping in the community and improving the lives of ordinary folk we clearly have the advantage. This is the greatest reward of all, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like that.

This also gives me a chance to experiment with off-line automatic report writing, as found in the Legacy Family Tree software, to produce a biographical Name Index. This type of software could also be used for mining history, such as those produced by Ken Grubb featured in that index. The ultimate would be to produce a JORC report direct from a database and these examples from the Computers in Geology website reflect that ambition:

  1. the develop.htm page used as the Table Server of the web site, and derived from Microsoft Excel.
  2. The default.htm has the Research areas for Computers in Geology section of the splash page.
  3. As introduced above, the home.htm has the Names section.
  4. all of index.html page used for the Index - Alphabetic
  5. all of download.html page used for the Downloads is from Microsoft Access employing the ELASTIC data model of my design.

set the Geoscience Gateway as your home page on your web browser.

You can set your browser to put up the Gateway every time you start it. This is how to do it:

  1. See the table above (Table 1) for type of work you do then click on the appropriate gateway to check it.
  2. For Microsoft Internet Explorer select the menu item Tools | Internet options | General
  3. Type in the box adjacent to Homepage the appropriate address from Table 1 or if you are using the window with the Gateway in it you can just push the Current button to write the address automatically.
  4. Press the OK button.

[The logo of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia] [The logo for the GeologyNet website (the former MINSERV bulletin board)]

Reflections and e-mail archive

I used to call this "Frequently Asked Questions" but actually, most of these questions I have asked myself, so not even all of them have really been voiced once. But nevertheless it is a spot to put those odd e-mails that crop up and I forget where I put them. I am now trialling Articles on LinkedIn, there at least readers are notified and can share them with others. Please see those posts at my Linked profile and also the previous ones on the Australian Geoscience Technology site.

  1. with the special issues of: #edcMOLLE; #LandDrone especially #MarsRover, #TammarTangler, #RockArtRanger, #RabbitTaker; #MineralExploration; and #geotourism for the #greynomad #transitioning from permanent work.
  2. The Specialist Group in Geological Education of the Geological Society of Australia and the Australian Geoscience Information Association have the geology-issues website.
  3. Plus a cross-index of all those articles under Jacquier, G. L. in the Names Index section of this web-site.
Computers in Geology website posts by title
Computers in Geology, what a stupid name!
Is your web site a gateway or a portal?
Setting the Geoscience Gateway as your home page on your web browser.
Still can't work out that klm file?
You work in petroleum exploration, where you have unlimited budgets, we can't afford you, what can we do?
How ...
How come an "office geologist" is a type of mineral surveyor especially when you have field geologist listed as well?
How do I do sketches in my work?
What ...
What are the economic benefits of the Australian mining industry?
What computer system are you using?
What do you do?
What do you do with old computers?
What is mineral surveying?
What is 'small' science as compared to 'big' science.
Where ...
Where would you look for coal deposits to follow on the Leigh Creek coalfield?
Why ...
Why have you not listed this web site with the search engines Alta Vista and Yahoo?
Why is biodiversity informatics important?
Why is XSL(T) technology becoming a big part of this site?
Why promote the eating of kangaroo meat?

Still can't work out that klm file?

On the web-site there are two example KML files:

These are for software like Google Earth which you would have to set up on your computer. Google Earth is a way to investigate remote places from satellite imagery. The text file formatted KML files record marks for points-of-interest, which appear on top of the imagery and can be anything from cafés to landscape views. Once Google Earth is installed you can load any KML file with these steps. More detail and screen shots are given in the Blog Archive article of the same name in c2016022.pdf (Adobe PDF format) file:

  1. Save the KML file to a temporary directory e.g. C:\TEMP\compost.kml
  2. Start Google Earth from the Windows menu
  3. File > Open > C:\TEMP\compost.kml
  4. Click on the “SA Great for Worms” listing in the “Places”

One of my to-do jobs is to change my web-pages as recommended by Google, to use the new KML file viewer in the Internet Explorer, which would not require the software to be installed. For the background to Google Earth, see the free desktop version at:

What do you do?

I just think I make geological maps, well at least the next generation, with a database instead of paper, and applications to show the data instead of ink.

I don't really understand why people ask this question, haven't they read Simon Winchester's book, 'The map that changed the world'? (my relatives often ask this question and when my ex-fiancee was given the book she found it too boring to finish). For me it is an obvious information technology problem, exactly like the stock exchange which has leader boards for the day traders, while publishing the summaries in the newspapers. Once when hayfever and lack of sleep was making me drift off I realised there is this historical parallel to the work:

After the dark ages, monks would copy manuscripts to preserve them. Not all monks could read the manuscripts but just copied the forms and illustrations, these are the Volante chaps these days. Other monks actually understood what they were copying and were more useful because they could repair damaged script, just like Ben ( and I. The manuscripts would then be distributed to the crown if it was one missing from the King's library (mines department) or kept by the monastery for the local archbishop and clergy's use (Santos and joint venture partners) to bamboozle (c.f. with climate change) the barons (the institutions and banks) and poor people (private investors on the stock exchange) into giving them more money (buying shares) to save their future (children) from damnation (peak oil) or hell (global warming).
Eventually a chap like Gutenburg will invent a printing press (computing system like the Internet) that enables you from one lithograph (you type in all your information once into a website, say Wikipedia) and then print multiple copies (software program like MS Internet Explorer). All the necessary departments and companies are automatically transmitted the data and it is automatically loaded (see the for the best we have). Then the days of taking two months to sort out the paperwork before retirement will be over.

The interesting thing for me is that people from the dark ages (nineteenth century) wouldn't know what a book (database) was, and people from this renaissance (after the clerical revolution finishes perhaps in fifty years as per ./heritage.html) will wonder why the monks (Affinity and Volante) took such a laborious time (hand scripting and manual loading of data disks) to do the work. So nothing new has happened before, life is just a cycle and perhaps a clerical revolution like the printing press or the computer always precedes an agricultural revolution. So hopefully, in a hundred years time the Fern Avenue community garden will be producing diesel for all their members' cars. Peak oil will be a fairytale like a flat-earth.

Why is XSL(T) technology becoming a big part of this site?

The eXtensible Stylesheet Language technology is slowing becoming a more significant feature of this site. This is an organic process unlike the use of MS Publisher for the formal part of the web-site which takes a lot of re-working of material I think the philosophical reason for this is that the XSL (T) technology reflects the way a scientist works. I try to show this in Table 7

Table 7 - parallels between the XSL (T), eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transform technology and scientific and surveying records
scientific paper
after Evans
XML (eXtensible Markup Language) from Thompson EndNote 10.0+ XSL (T) outputting HTML (HyperText Markup Language) KML
(Keyhole Markup Language)
spatial data infrastructure
from Abbas 1 from Giff and Coleman 2
Title page3 <xml><records><record> <titles><title>...</title></titles> <dates><year> ... </year></dates> <contributors><secondary-authors> <author>...</author> </secondary-authors></contributors> <publisher>...</publisher> </record></records></xml> <html><head> <title>...</title> </head></html> interpreted by the browser <kml> <document><name>...</name></document> </kml> interpreted by Google Earth
Abstract3 <html><head><meta> ... </meta></head></html> interpreted by the browser <kml><Document><Description> <![CDATA[...]]> </Description></Document></kml> interpreted by Google Earth Clearing-house
Contents3 <kml><document> <placemark><title>...</title></placemark> </document></kml> interpreted by Google Earth
List of Figures3
List of Tables3
Preface4 <xml><records><record> <database> ... </database> <source-app> ... </source-app> <rec-number> ... </rec-number> <ref-type> ... </ref-type> <edition> ... </edition> </record></records></xml> <html><head> ... </head></html> interpreted by the browser <?xml...?> <! ... //--> <kml> Institutional Framework
Introduction3 <kml><document> <placemark><point>...</point></placemark> </document></kml> interpreted by Google Earth
Background3 <xml><records><record> <research-notes>...</research-notes> </record></records></xml> <kml><document> <placemark><LookAt> ...
</LookAt></placemark> </document></kml> interpreted by Google Earth
Access Network Economic Issues
Design of work3 the name space file e.g. xmlns="" standards
Results3 XML (eXtensible Markup Language) file <kml><Document> <Placemark><StyleURL>...</StyleURL></Placemark> </Document></kml> interpreted by Google Earth data datasets
Discussion3 XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language) file <kml><Document> <Placemark><Description><![CDATA[...]]></Description></Placemark> </Document></kml> interpreted by Google Earth People Human Resources
Conclusions3 <html> <body>...</body> </html> interpreted by the browser Policy Technical Resources
References4 <xml><records><record> <urls><related-urls> <url> ... </url> </urls></related-urls> </record></records></xml> <html><body> <a href="..." title="...">...</a> </body></html> presented by the browser <kml><document> <placemark><description> <a href="..." title="...">...</a> </description></placemark> </document></kml> presented by Google Earth
These references are from WILLIAMSON, Ian; RAJABIFARD, Abbas; and FEENEY, Mary-Ellen F. (2003) Developing spatial data infrastructures from concept to reality. Taylor & Francis, London.
1 from figure 2.2, nature and Relations between SDI components, page 27 (RAJABIFARD, Abbas; FEENEY, Mary-Ellen F.; and WILLIAMSON, Ian: Chapter Two; Spatial Data Infrastructures: Concept, nature and SDI Hierarchy)
2 from figure 13.1, SDI as a network model, page 217, (GIFF, Garfield and COLEMAN, David. Chapter Thirteen; Financing SDI Development: Examining Alternative Funding Models.)
These references are from EVANS, David (1995) How to Write a better Thesis or Report. Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria.
3 from figure 1, Structure of theses in the experimental disciplines (Reports may be structured slightly differently, see Chapter 13), page 5 (Chapter 2, Structure)
4 from Dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's, pagess 108-117 (Chapter 12, Finishing)

Drawing up Table 7 has suggested to me that both the Abbas and the Giff & Coleman models for spatial data infrastructure are invalid because they are biased towards their respective objectives: policy outcomes as conclusions in the former, and purchasing objectives in the latter. Any infrastructure model should be independent of outcome. A well-designed bridge does not differentiate the artillary piece, the farmer's tractor and the baker's van; and neither should an SDI. Perhaps this isn't proper to use document criterion against an SDI, but isn't the earliest form of an SDI; that was, the first mud map differentiating the cave where the bears were and that one with the fecund women, and not to get the two confused. Abbas et. al comments that SDI is a dynamic process but perhaps this has more to do with the terms of reference of the exercise they were involved in, rather than the nature of SDI itself: bridges usually are not far from historical fording points; because the traffic cannot be diverted a large distance from the existing roads, towns and inns.

The gaps in Table 7 for SDI may be an indication of spatial data infrastructures are still remote from the common people. In comparision the KML technology has many of the upper half boxes filled suggesting to me a rational analysis of why Google Earth (by 2019 it was integral to HTML 5) has proved to be so popular despite that the data is not as intensive as that available from public mapping offices - it is enough to get people started. Before it was curtailed, the Royal Australian Army Survey Corp was preparing Project Parare:

… Project Parare would have given us a model, proved by practitioners in many cases more expert than ourselves and in great contrast to the office derived models like the IBM Mercury Project, POSC Epicentric, GeoSciML and to a lesser extent the most useable Public Petroleum Data Model. …

To have a rational explanation for working SDI is personally exciting because I took a research scholarship at the University of Melbourne, with the Department of Geomatics, and I was hoping that the very mathematical surveyors would delineate the formula for a successful SDI. Unfortunately as you can see from the references to Williamson et. al. in the above table the message was still confused. However, once I have a rational approach to an SDI, I can transpose that to a geological data infrastructure by substituting the stratigraphic space (those sketches in VML) for the geographic space. Not shown in the table is XML schema for EndNote, this fits beween the work of Evans and the XSL column, giving me a strong framework for web-site development and explain the enthusiastic growth of the website. It is not just the data intensive graphical-user-interface but also the data feeds which are found in later web-sites like

… Today's table gives me hope (at last) of producing something rational and comprehensive: edit 22 May 2008

How do I do my sketches in my reports?

I like to have editable figures including a markup language for added documentation, to provide an on-going record of my client's system and keep a history of the changes, preferably all encapsulated together. The best reference I have come across on the need for an editable figure based around a mark-up language is:

VML Provides XML-based Graphics for the Web, Scott Howlett and Jeff Dunmall

The Vector Markup Language format represents vectors as series of comma-separated cartesian co-ordinates i.e. x1 ,y1,x2,y2,...,xn,yn which is the same as the alternate format in the Atlas Boundary files that can be produced for Golden Software Surfer, which suggests there is some opportunity for converting geological mapping into VML diagrams. On the downside VML is not part of the W3C standard (see and is only supported by a few browsers, probably the most significant being Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 till about version 9. If your browser is capable of VML rendering you will see a green five-pointed star with red border between this paragraph and the next. Alternatively if it is HTML 5 compatible the Red star will be visible. .

Click on the red star (not the white space around it) and it will take you to the Clip Art page for more explanation
VML prototype SVG for HTML5
IE Explorer 5 to 9 IE Explorer 10 and later

In doing these sketches I was immediately struck by the amount of time it takes. I attended the South Australian Institute of Technology when drawing boards were still the mark of a serious engineer, and the adage was "a diagram is worth a thousand words". What they didn't mention at least for desktop publishing, is that the cost of a diagram is ten thousand words, and so figures are set up as works of art never to be altered, exactly not like the analogue pencil drawing that could be changed as you discussed the problem.

I was telling Bob Major, also a member of the Geological Society of Australia, about VML and he immediately asked about a sketching package. The VML editor by Jacco IJzerman speeds up the rough drawing but still allows you to do the fine adjustment by coding (i.e. typing). The original intent of the VML editor is for people to make sketches and submit them as graffiti on a web site, but that is not much different from our need for an improved whiteboard. The code is available from the the web site. It runs on a standard Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, so it would suit Bob's need for an in-field sketch pad, though he does need to shell out for a top-of-the-line palmtop PC (one with Internet access). An alternative approach is to use the VMLMaker print driver. The web site has examples from other fields of work. The next challenge is to find a Wireless Application Protocol WAP one, that can be used on a mobile phone to markup a digital photograph of an outcrop. The apps listed in the research table of the People page are good place to start.

If you are working with SVG instead of VML, it is easier, with at least Golden Software Surfer exporting any line drawings as SVG as an alternative to the Surfer BLN format. Also TimeScale Creator exports SVG as well as HTML files for stratigraphic columns. The ideal would be inline SVG as part of their HTML export (that is HTML5 standard) so I shall be examining the source code produced from future versions. And I have forgotten to wrie that Inkscape is used for many of the Wikisource contributions.
Table 6 - utilisation of VML (vector markup language) in geological modelling
geology (vector markup language, VML) geophysics (cascading stylesheet, CSS)
  • STRATIGRAPHIC ORDER; The order of <vml:shape> elements in the VML file gives a default stratigraphy in that it is the order of overlay when displaying. The file at the top is the "oldest" and is overlain by the "newer" <vml:shape> elements at the end of the file.
  • FORMATION SHADING; The VML file, through the fillcolor= properties of the <vml:shape> elements, is independent of the shading in the CSS file.
  • OVERTURNED BEDDING; The z-index: attribute allows you to reorder the overlaying from the VML file when display it. The CSS file therefore could contain the current disposition of units
  • DEFORMATION; The left: and right: attributes give the position of the <vml:shape>, element. The width: and height: attributes control the extension of the <vml:shape>. Therefore deformation requires alteration of the CSS file (the facies identification from the geophysics) not the VML file (the geology) which remains constant.

For the immediate term, the Clip Art page gives examples of Vector Markup Language designed to allow you to make sketches and change them just as you would any part of an existing Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) file. For SVG, Wikipedia has files like this periodic table in the WikiSource library. Then you might consider some of the suggested intrinsic geological benefits of VML (perhaps SVG) from Table 6. I think the split between attributes controlled by the CSS standard, that is associated with style property; and those within VML, that is the elements and properties of VML; are not too far from a logical split between geology and geophysics. Let me know if you disagree or think of other match ups. Despite the philosophy there are some file incompatibility as well:

Simple Periodic Table Chart-en from Wikipedia

What do I do with old computers, printers and mobile phones?

You have set up a new computer and successfully copied your data across but what do yo do with the old one?

Well the are some serious problems to consider and from the report Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment: A South Australian Perspective prepared for Environment Protection Agency Department for Environment and Heritage Government of South Australia by Ö. Göl, C. Heidenreich, and A. Nafalski of University of South Australia in 2000, I found material that needs to be treated to include:

The hazards from these materials are given in the report (marked 1) but I added extras from my own observations:

The strategy outlined in the report is recycling but what does that really mean in practice for a scientist or builder with several computers in his shed. I have tried to put together a hierarchy of practice that you can follow through. Any specific suggestions from the report by Göl, Heidenreich, and Nafalski are marked 1. The full article ( c2016021.pdf) has additional aspects from the table as I have come across them.

Table 5 - Checklist and recycle schema for computers, printers and mobile phones
start of life
1st option
Initial Purchase and Use
2nd option
Re-Use :
3rd option
Store Equipment
You can store equipment that could come in useful with companies like:
4th option
Donate the Equipment
5th option
Take-Back and Trade-In Schemes
6th option
Pay to Refurbish
final option
Throwing It Out, into the rubbish
  • kerb-side pickups
  • hard rubbish days
end of life

What are the economic benefits of the Australian mining industry?

This is an extract from 'THE AUSIMM SUBMISSION IN FAVOUR OF INCREASING FUNDING FOR MINERALS RELATED COURSES TO CLUSTER 10 LEVEL' submitted by Don Larkin to the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MHR, on 21st December 2004. Don was kind enough to circulate it to all members of the Australian Geoscience Council, and I couldn't bear to see such a clear explanation buried in some filing cabinet in Canberra. If this is typical of the majority of submissions to members of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia parliament, then they are at least very well informed.

The Economic and Regional Importance of the Minerals Industry

The Australian minerals sector makes a considerable contribution to the economy and Australian society at large.

1Minerals Council of Australia, "Pre-Budget Submission 2004-05", November 2003, p 42.
4Australian Trade Commission, "High Tech Road to Exporting Success (ICT)" at,,0_S1-1_1zg-2_1-3_PWB110389111-4_-5_-6_0-7_,00.html
5ABARE, Mining Technology Services, Innovation in Economics, at
6Minerals Council of Australia, above n 1, p 44-45. Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, Australia's Mineral Exploration, Seventh Meeting 28 June (2001) at

Where would you look for coal deposits to follow on the Leigh Creek coalfield?

I am just writing about a few things that cropped up at the SA Explorer's conference on the 3rd December 2004 at the AMF Centre, Glenunga, South Australia. The conference brought up three exploration items which had bearing on finding future energy sources for South Australia:

  1. the good alliance Minotaur Resources has had with BHP-Billiton Exploration
  2. the success of micro-topology surveys in discovering mineral sands in the Eucla Basin
  3. the exploration for geothermal power by Petratherm in the Curnamona craton to the east of Mt Painter

These thoughts are unfashionable as the previously coal-based South Australian economy is reforming to use alternative energy sources. Articles that show the score are:

Have you been concerned about joint-venturing with BHP-Billiton?

If you have been concerned about joint-venturing with BHP-Billiton to fly micro-gravity 'Falcon' surveys because they would dominate the endeavour: Derek Carter, managing director of Minotaur Resources Limited spoke on devolving their exploration portfolio from their Prominent Hill mine and mentioned in passing that BHP-Billiton was a good partner. As well as providing exploration and funding support, once the exploration lease had been passed over for large targets, they were pleased to leave the targets that were too small to their partners at little cost. See also Low-tech alternatives to Falcon microgravity surveys on the Clip Art page

geothermal energy potential near the Flinders Ranges

Martin Hand from the University of Adelaide explained how Mt Painter has one of the highest heat flows in the world and the exploration company Petratherm Ltd (CEO Peter Reid) is targeting the areas around Mt Painter that are covered in sediment which would act as a blanket, making temperatures of 250 -350 C possible at 3000 m depth. They see this has genuine commercial potential that could provide power to the surrounding mines, in contrast to the ANU project in the Cooper Basin. He explained that the Lihir gold mine in PNG has 40 MW of geothermal power installed expecting to go to 60MW and as well as electrifying the mine, they are exporting carbon credits.

On the Internet I found that NRG Energy is a primary investor in the venture capital fund "Latin Power I" which has the Orzunil geothermal project at Zunil, Guatemala. This uses the same ORMAT binary cycle technology as found in the latest commercial geothermal projects in New Zealand


All NZ units are unattended and have closed circuit fluid systems returning the cooled water to the ground for reheating. Some also utilise peak demand pricing. Several are owned by Maori land councils. In total not too different from the environs of Leigh Creek. I could see any exploration for coal, building the data set for geothermal targets, by routinely drilling to basement and including temperature probes in the geophysical logging suite.

How come an "office geologist" is a type of mineral surveyor especially when you have field geologist listed as well? Doesn't that mean all geologists?

Not necessarily, and this came about from the experience of Jenette Binns in Brisbane, who sent me the Metallica Minerals prospectus she had been preparing. I have done very little on the commercial side of the industry and I just didn't realise how much work actually went into a prospectus. It is a real reference with geological maps, glossary and tables. I still have it as an example. I had always thought that the number of jobs for computer geologists were contracting as the technology became more efficient but after Jenette wrote to me I added "office geologist" and "administration geologist" to the my list. I had been thinking that companies would have to get to a reasonable size with at least a technical services group, before they would take on an operations geologist, but I can see that if you include desktop publishing, and clerical administration into the role you become a one-person corporate services. The oldest job description that I have found for what we do is "mining warden's clerk" ( Tom Turner, later government surveyor, from the second half of the nineteenth century) and I think that still fits.

I started the biography page in memory of Greg Nicholls, who I worked with on a number of projects, and who like myself, was a contract computer/operations geologist in Adelaide. We had been talking about if there was any future for us and I didn't have any answers either. A year or so later he bumped himself off. So I do have some answers now and career pathways.

What is 'small' science as compared to 'big' science.

At the meeting of the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) with the executive director of the Federation of Australian Science and Technology Societies (FASTS), Bradley Smith, in August 2004, I used the term 'small' science at the "local and regional level" and I realised that not everyone understood what I meant, though many had their own similar ideas. Bradley suggested that this was a development that produced say "5 jobs in Ballarat" rather than developing biotechnology for a drug company, and while I thought that is getting close, I think it is even smaller than that.

I am pretty sure if I could get a startup of "5 people in Ballarat" I could probably retire to a Queensland island on the proceeds. Even so my far less spectacular results encourage my clients to continue pay me a retainer and keep me in red wine. So I went away and I thought of some general examples of small science:

Nevil Shute's quote is my favourite because he articulates the whole small science culture in his book "Slide Rule", which covers the period of his life immediately before he became a full time author and he worked as an aeronautical engineer, including working on the airship R100. In particular he makes the comparison between the government built airship R101, involved 'big' science , under-performed, went over cost, and was behind schedule before bursting into flames and killing the crew. Whereas the Vickers airship built on 'small' science practices was on-time, cheaper and performed beyond specification and safely. For further information please see my web page section on Nevil SCHUTE's books.

I think Nevil gives an extreme example because generally the best result is where 'small' and 'big' science is combined. The last example of the agronomist is such a case. At the start of the twentieth century the average paddock in South Australia produced one to two bags of wheat per acre. By the end of that century the average yield was over ten bags and heading towards twenty, and additional acreage farmed. As well as the many agronomists and pest control officers, the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organsiation (CSIRO) and the state departments of agriculture contributed as well. Thanks to their effort no Australian politician as ever had to say 'let them eat cake' because the bread supply has been getting bigger and cheaper over time.

Even though my examples above are all applied science I don't think 'small' vs 'big' science is equivalent to "applied" vs "pure" or even "unkown" vs "emminent" or even the size of the budget or the number of research staff (though 'small' science is more associated with service companies). If I have to put an equation to it I would suggest a small/big science indicator of:

index = cost of research / immediate benefit of research
Where the index is small for 'small' science and large for 'big' science. You note that this small science includes those backyard pure scientists who make their own equipment because their costs are small as well as their returns and also big spending on ultra-big return projects (industrial research). It also suggests the use of service companies, where technology transfer to industry and and financial return to the community (in payment for services) occur immediately, as compared to the technology transfer path of 'big' science with reporting and then incorporation into training curriculum and then wait for apprentices to become masters and take over running the enterprise, before the advancement is incorporated into practice.

The tricky thing with the 'small' vs 'big' science approach is you will probably find 'small' being more successful on scientific grounds as, while not as dramatic as Nevil Shute portrays, 'small' science means more intellectual freedom and more research in total, so there are more successful outcomes. Of course this is counter to some of the claims of the more emminent old universities and more established research organisations and what is presented to government and there lies the problem - vested interest. However, I think you should read Nevil Shute's book as he makes a more extended model which covers the exceptions and caveats.

Computers in Geology, what a stupid name!

Computers in Geology was a business name registered in the state of South Australia and used by Grant Jacquier. I originally began practising under my own name in 1991 but registered the business name on the 9th of February 1996. Computers in Geology had been the title of my marketing newsletter which was first published in 1992.

It is a typical South Australian name, because it is traditional that names are plain descriptions of function. Australian Rules football is played at Football Park (or was it is now AAMI Stadium, since mid 2002), the main road to the Northern Territory is called the Main North Road. Booleroo, from my home town of Booleroo Centre, is aboriginal for mud and flies, and The Advertiser has the classified advertisements whereas The News specialised on the daily news. Since trading and then federation with the convict colonies, we have learnt to be more deceptive. Port Misery became Port Adelaide, The Levels, a flat dry plain where the South Australian Institute of Technology stood, now houses the Mawson Lakes campus of the University of South Australia. So yes, Computers in Geology is a strange name but also a lovely, quaint one.

Is your web site a gateway or a portal?

Geoscience Gateway is a gateway but not a portal because everyone is treated equal. Ian Edwards found this definition of a portal:
"A portal is a personalized and customized gateway designed for useful and comprehensive access to information, people, and processes. While portals have a rapidly evolving set of features and characteristics, they can be described as personalized and customized user interfaces providing access to both internal and external information. Portal content can include a wide variety of features, information, tools, and communication devices".
from: Provosts on Portals: a web seminar developed for American Association of State Colleges and Universities provosts

If you would like to see a portal look at the Geoscience Portal from the Commonwealth Government's Geoscience Australia.

What is mineral surveying?

Mineral surveying is the observation and management of mineral resources (don't forget water is a mineral), within a rational framework of measurement and modelling.

I am rather sold on the necessary relationship and separation between the philosopher and the surveyor. It too often gets forgotten indoors when debating about education, but outside in practice it is the strongest tool to protect the community. It works this way, the philosphers play with real data and new ideas at a university, but until a concept solidifies it is not used to either collect more data (an expensive process in itself) or used to design buildings or excavations for innocent and unknowing customers.

Tradition is the difference, and in allegory, consider how people use their hands to measure objects. The figure from Wikipedia Commons below left is described "diagram of English length units and their integer relations to each other" (thank you to editor at Mine Survey Plus for finding this). Immediately below, centre, is the annotated figure with firstly a link to the micrometre entry on Wikipedia and in the future to link explanations to the traditional units like the palm and span because these will be revived when making interactive situation tables (see my compilation of replica makers).

English Length Units Graph

The above and the original figure from WikiCommons (to the left) are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Links established are coloured with the rgba(255,102,102,1.0) function. I have used the <iframe > HTML element to view the ./images/measure.svg file, so click on the back button of your browser to recover the diagram after viewing the reference for the measure.

Creative Commons License

Why have you not listed this site with the search engines Alta Vista and Yahoo?

Though I have gone to the trouble of creating a meta-data description for the Geocience Gateway I don't feel there is enough original material here to list the site with Yahoo or Alta Vista. People using those search engines want the real information not just a link to another web site. Of course this may be wrong and people should let me know if they disagree or just nominate the site themselves.

Why is biodiversity informatics important?

Biodiversity informatics is a branch of mineral surveying and deals with the impact of activities on eco-systems. In the figure below it can be seen that it is used where the is not enough money for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement and yet too little damage has happened for the paleontologists to do a mass extinction study. Therefore, most of the existing surface area is best managed by biodiversity informatics. For further information contact Ben Moretti.

Mechanisms for managing biodiversity for different earth activities

Why promote the eating of kangaroo meat?

The kangaroo is a soft-footed mammal indigenous to Australia. They were traditionally hunted by the aborigines who ate the meat of the kangaroo, used the bones and sinew as well as the hide. The red and grey kangaroos are extremely successful animals in the current Australian environment and have to be culled to protect other animals both indigenous and domestic. Historically, kangaroo meat was not valued by immigrants to Australia and Tasmania because of the association with aborigines and that the kangaroo could not be herded but had to be shot. This led to the sale of the meat for consumption by humans being banned both in Australia and overseas.

However, the beast, the meat and the hide have advantages over imported domestic camel, horse, buffalo, cattle, goats and sheep. The foot of the kangaroo is soft and does not erode the soil as much as the horn-footed mammals. The kangaroo needs a larger range but fencing is not required and it can cope with drought conditions, by eating a greater range of plants. Land for kangaroo does not need to be cleared of scrub. As a result where kangaroo can replace domestic animals for meat production, the land will be maintained in much better condition.

Kangaroo meat is leaner in fat content which makes it ideal for developed countries where obesity is prevalent. Where there is a culture of women participating in running and high impact sports, extra consumption of red meat is desirable to prevent aneamia, as it adds further iron to the diet, to replace the red blood cells used in the activity. Kangaroo meat is that necessary compromise increased iron and decreased fat in the diet. However, with older women and dogs be sure to include more calcium-rich food in your meals, like beans, legumes and chick peas, because kangaroo meat has lower percentages of calcium salt than lamb, chicken or beef, and prolonged use without these supplements could lead to deterioation of the bones.

The hide is lighter and stronger than cattle hide which makes it ideal for desert boots, boot laces and general equipment manufacture.

The laws against the consumption of the meat are being altered and innovative professional shooters have invested in new plant to process the kangaroo in the field, aided by progressive meat inspection regimes developed by the state governments. Nevertheless, farmers and graziers will not adopt this sustainable technique until the market for the meat and hide increases. This is a cultural change which requires gradual replacement of the beef, lamb, and pork in the diet of Australians and their customers overseas. It is something we can all do by either experimenting with kangaroo in our cooking at home, or in jurisdictions where the sale of the meat is illegal, petition that the reasons for the law be re-examined.

Any other questions

Please contact Grant Jacquier directly at email:

All statements and analysis contained in this web site are opinion only based on information from various sources which the Editor believes to be correct. The Editor accepts no responsibility for persons acting solely on this information for any purpose. All readers are advised to get independent advice tailored to their individual circumstances.

The page was created in May 2002.
© Grant Jacquier 2019