COMPUTERS IN GEOLOGY

Geoscience Gateway

What can you find on this page?:
The resumes of people in practice.
The pre-requisites for the life.
But will I fit in (with my experience)?
The training in mineral surveying.
  1. under-graduate courses
  2. post-graduate courses
  3. industry registration
  4. research groups
or just select the gateway.

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Resumes of people associated with mineral surveying?


www.telstramininganimation.com

This section contains links to resumes of practising scientists, which I have found on the web. These current workers are principally assessing natural resources by computers. The link with the figure above is to an animation showing the different activities. With the link to the Encyclopaedia of Australian Science you can get further information on companies in these resumes. Alternatively, there are these searchable databases for current and past mineral surveyors.

[The logo for the Wise Old Sayings web-site] [The logo of the Encyclopaedia of Australian Science]

How do I get into mineral surveying?

The table below lists critical skills and qualifications for mineral surveying. It is intended for curriculum planning for trainers and course coordinators. Each item is ranked from 1 to 6 according to relevance of that particular item for the six career stages listed. It is has links to the catalogues of the educational and academic publishers. More specific mineral surveying texts are listed on the Heritage page of the Geoscience Gateway.

Table A - PLANNER FOR A MINERAL SURVEYING CAREER
endeavour capability rankings
COMPUTER
SKILLS

[The favorite icon of the LEGO®  website for purchases in AUD.] [The favourite icon for the Microsoft Corporation] [The favourite icon for w3schools.com website] [The shortcut icon to the website for Nystrom Inc., the educational publishers] [The icon for the Computers in Geology] [The favourite icon for the Safari Books On-line web-site] [The logo for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists]

Capability with computer hardware
  • media managment
  • license management
6 5 4 3 2 1
capability with general software
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
3 4 5 6 2 1
Work to procedure
  • check lists
  • written procedures
6 5 4 3 2 1
capability with geoscience software
  • integrated exploration systems
  • finite difference modelling
  • image processor
  • geographic information system
6 3 1 2 4 5
FORMAL
QUALIFICATIONS

[The favorite icon of the LEGO®  website for purchases in USD.] [The favourite icon for the Curtin University website] [The favourite icon for the Fizzics Education website] [The favourite icon for ERA Publications] [The favourite icon for AAMT web-site] [The logo for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists] [The favourite icon for the Oxford University Press website] [The favourite icon for the Palgrave imprint of the Macmillan Palgrave publishers] [The favourite icon for the Micropaleontology website] [The favourite icon for Cambridge University Press website] [The favourite icon for Australian Science Innovations website] [The favourite icon for the Bagchee web-site] [The favourite icon for the Pearson web-site] [The logo for the Pascal Press web-site] [The logo for the Earth Science Western Australia web-site] [The logo for the Dexter Industries web-site]

geoscience degree qualifications
  • BSc, Geology major
  • BSc, Geophysics major
1 2 3 4 5 6
applied or allied geoscience degree qualifications
  • BAppSc in Applied Geology
  • BSc in Agriculture
  • BSc in Marine Science
  • BA in Oceanography
  • BSurv
5 4 3 2 1 6
other degree qualifications or geoscience diplomas
  • BEd
  • BA
  • BSc in Computer Science
  • Certificate IV in Geoscience
  • Applied Diploma of Cartography
6 5 4 3 1 2
certificates for allied disciplines
  • computer operations
  • graphic design
  • horticulture
  • mechanical trades
6 5 4 3 2 1
career stage

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chief scientist (eg: GIS manager, $71K a)          
project scientist (eg: GIS supervisor, $63K a)        
senior scientist (eg: business-analyst/data-manager, $62K a)      
scientist (eg: technical coordinator, $51K a)    
technical officer (eg: GIS coordinator, $57K a)  
technical assistant (eg: GIS officer, $46K a)
LEGEND
1 : this capability is most relevant for this career stage
6 : this capability is least relevant for this career stage
NOTES
aBruce Douglas (2006) The Skills Crisis, POSITION, October-November 2006, pp 40-41.
Table B - PLANNER FOR MINERAL SURVEY TRAINING
INDUSTRY
ENTRY 1

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Y Y   N
N Y Y Y
  1. Certificate IV in Record Keeping
  2. Diploma in Record Keeping
  3. Advanced Diploma in Record Keeping
N Y Y ?
CADET
ENTRY1

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Y Y   N
N Y Y N
PROFESSIONAL
ENTRY 1

[The favourite icon for Survey and Land Information, University of New South Wales] [The favourite icon for Curtin University] [The favourite icon for the University of Melbourne]

Y Y Y N
N Y ? Y
N     Y
PROFESSIONAL
DEVELOPMENT 3

[The favourite icon for the Australian Science Teachers Association] [The favourite icon for the Archivists.org website] [The favourite icon for the University of Melbourne] [The favourite icon for Survey and Land Information, University of New South Wales] [The favourite icon for the Brikipedia website] [The favourite icon for the South Australian tertiary Admissions Centre] [The favourite icon of the University of South Australia web-site]

Y Y Y Y
  Y    
    Y  
PROFESSIONAL
REGISTRATION

[The shortcut icon for the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy website] [The favourite icon of the RIM website] [The shortcut icon for the International Institute of Business Analysts website] [The shortcut icon for the DAMA International website] [The favourite icon of the archivists.org.au website] [The favourite icon of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists website] [The favourite icon of the EduMine website] [The favourite icon of the Australian Library and Information Association website]

Y      
  Y    
    Y  
  • Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
      Y
discipline assayer      
mining warden's clerk2    
librarian  
surveyor
item A B C D
1The schools listed above provide tertiary training, with a mineral surveying basis, suitable for industry and technical services.
2No generally accepted registration available, and really is there a need for it? The mining company BHP-Billiton does use the IIBA's BABOK Guide, whereas DAMA International has DMBOK®.
3Many people take more general earth science training and then top up with computing qualifications. This broadens the opportunity for finding work to get their initial experience. These schools provide that service.
4These educational institutions embrace the mineral surveying tradition.

[The logo of the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy] [The favourite icon for United States Geological Survey web-site] [The logo for Programming Languages and Systems research group of the University of Kent] [The logo for the publisher Era Publications] [The logo for the publishers O'Reilly & Associates]

But will I fit in (with my experience)?

Well the mining, quarrying and contstruction industries have a place for just about anyone but to be a mineral surveyor you do need a certain aptitude. Do you have these characteristics?

  1. conscientious
  2. like to help people by solving problems
  3. enjoy art, history and geography as well as science and maths
  4. sensitive, thoughtful and romantic
  5. have an interest in music

No it isn't a trick question, we are talking capital-intensive industry here: imagination and brains beats brawn every time, so if you answer yes to all those questions then you are a good candidate. And while it is has become fashionable for educators to quote that people will change jobs and careers many times, this has always been the case for mineral surveyors for years as mines close down, booms go bust and construction projects get completed. It does require a determination to be of service to the community and do whatever job you are asked to do.

However, to decide which of the occupations would suit you (Table 1 of the Jobs page gives a list), we need to look at your personality, and make some general conclusions about where you can fit-in (though I find I am driven by the economic conditions into different roles). If any human resource managers reading this have had success with professional development programmes, say to encourage people into the field, or help field geologists cross back into the office, I will happily reference them here:

  1. The majority of mineral surveyors are employed by mining or geotechnical consulting companies. They are outgoing and compliant, are ideal for wheeling and dealing with government, the community and joint venturers. They do make good field workers, but they love the cities and work out of offices. If you would like this style of work consider a pure science degree from one of the older universties such as Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland, Western Australia or Tasmania
  2. The second most numerous group, is possibly the least-outgoing but the most co-operative, who fulfil compliance roles in the government surveys and environment departments, the production geologists on mines where they are directed by engineers, and were in the past, the computer geologists who felt uncomfortable managing a field team and did not spend much time outside their offices. Also in the past, quite a few have found on-going research positions at universities, supplemented with teaching when they have to. Again the traditional universties are not a bad place to start but also government departments recruit technical officers from the practical degrees of QIT, RMIT, University of New South Wales, University of South Australia and the regional universities.
  3. The next group are your Alpha types, who love an audience, their own opinions and sharing them, and these are the teachers and lecturers. There is a massive amount of work to be done lifting the general understanding of nature and it this group who spend most of their time in the major capital cities, talking to young adults. Generally, this crowd won't be found in the bush and tend to do their field work in company or at exotic rather than remote locations. You should aim for a post-graduate degree from a university with a reputation for research: University of Tasmania, Waite Institute, University of Western Australia, Australian National University, University of New South Wales, and Monash University. For secondary school teaching take a pure science degree from these or the traditional universities, and add a post-grad teaching qualification.
  4. The smallest group are the independent quiet types, who are determined to improve things, and sacrifice everything else. They can be found in the technical services groups of companies and government departments,and often spend too much time in the field. They make good field workers as they don't mind the loneliness. More of this group are becoming database geologists, after retiring from the field in their thirties, as their technical knowledge and practical experience is an advantage over the hide-in-the-office types who used to do the programming, and their self-reliance gives them the confidence to tackle large database problems, working at it for days. A degree from a good research university is one-way to start, but the more hands-on-types will appreciate the thoroughness, rigour and mathematics of the former schools of mines, such as Curtin University. An extensive list is given in Table 1.

It is the last group, the minority, who most of the examples on the Computers in Geology website are dedicated to. They represent to me the ideal mineral surveyor, so if you are still interested and you would like to see the kind of work that is involved, Click Here to download a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of worked examples and fact sheets from mineral surveying; or see if you can visit these sites:

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Further skilling

If you have the characteristics given above, then you should think about training for a career in mineral surveying. Table B above gives examples of the courses you will need to undertake. I have only put those institutions that I am familiar with their curriculum, you can compare these with your local suppliers to find some where suitable. Equally, unfortunately, some courses are not mentioned because they focus on the discussion or policy of the science, and graduates from these courses will find they struggle with the mathematics and practicalities required for a mineral surveying career. Often these courses will identify with large corporations who recruit their graduates to staff their bureaucracies (and they get well paid for it, mind you) but for the earth-minded person it is unsatisfying, and further you find yourself alienated, working among people who don't have the same values as yourself.

Thankfully, the Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) commissioned a salary survey by Corporate GIS Consultants and Bruce Douglas (see NOTES in "PLANNER FOR A MINERAL SURVEYING CAREER" above) has published the average salaries for each career stage via POSITION magazine. Currently there are many exploration companies who are paying above these rates, but they may be intending the scientists to be a dupe or secondly expect them to carry the burden of the field sampling without any intent on proper career development. It takes many years and a variety of tasks to develop a good mineral surveyor and sure there is a good deal of field work, but many new entrants to the industry are not being treated in their best interest. Of course there are also many suitable graduates who are prepared to take the inflated salaries for the few years that they are available and then take a Graduate Diploma of Education to become a teacher, or buy a business. As long as you know what the likely outcomes are, and you have your plan in place. I reckon about 5-10% of the total number of geologists who graduate make a career in mineral surveying.

[The logo for University of New South Wales] [The logo for the University of Adelaide] [The logo for the geosymposia.com.au website] [The logo for the Australian Library and Information Association] [The logo for Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory] [The logo of the University of Queensland] [an image of the coat of arms for the government of Lanzarote]

Research groups with a mineral surveying ethic

This first class of research groups, with the support of their vice-chancellors, have research infrastructure for prototyping and a development programme; so they make the rest of us look stupid. I have ranked them below in order of teaching support, research and data support. Scientists working as geoscience data coordinators will recognise that the order also reflects the level of integration of the systems; and subsequently is an analogue for the ease with which an individual can fulfil their responsibilities under JORC (as inferred by Pearson above).

Table 5 : The Computers in Geology rank of research universities
rank university and research groups c.f. Computers in Geology prototype supervisor c.f. Grant Jacquier - science stationer research infrastructure c.f. Geoscience Gateway research workbench c.f. Grimoire of Geological Computing teaching guides c.f. KML, a Geologists Seminar research data sets c.f. Downloads
one Clark University Clark Labs IDRISI Taiga 2 5 3
two
Purdue University
College of Engineering
University of Oslo
Norwegian center for paleontology, Natural History Museum
including sponsors:
3 x geological surveys
4 x oil exploration companies
2 x science foundations
1 x service company
Geologic TimeScale Foundation
Elsevier
Cambridge University Press
The Concise Geologic Time Scale (2008)
Geologic Time Scale Foundation
Collection of educational charts
  • TSCreator patterns
three
Columbia University
Robotics Group
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory EarthObserver GeoMapApp Virtual Ocean ? MGDS
four
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
School of Natural Resources
UNL CALMIT NebraskaMAP UNL WDN Virtual Nebraska (11) Nebraska Maps and More
five
World Health Organisation
Collaborating Center for Water and Health
Collaborating Centre for Water Quality Assessment
United Nations Environmental Programme
Collaborating Center for Water and Environment
Collaborating Center for Freshwater Quality Monitoring and Assessment
DHI Group
MIKE by DHI
Dashboard Manager
, FEFLOW not determined not determined
six
Colorado School of Mines
IGWMC
University of Alabama
Hydrogeology Group
United States Geological Survey
Water Resources of the United States
Water Resources Groundwater Software
Model Viewer
GW Chart
MT3DMS, MODFLOW, SEAWAT, SHARP, SUTRA + more not determined not determined
seven
Mars Exploration Program
not determined
NASA
JPL
mobile apps
4 + ...
  1. Pancam on the Mars Exploration Rovers
  2. Mastcom on Curiosity
  3. Mastcam-X on the Mars 2020 rover
NASA Educational Materials
Geology
CASDE
eight Natural Environment Research Council
Apps
iGeology
iGeology 3D
mySoil
myVolcano
nine
AuScope Limited, Australia
10 public universities
8 geological surveys
7 mapping authorities
8 departments of education / 42 schools
CSIRO
AuScope Simulator
National Virtual Core Library
AuScope Discovery Portal
Mobile Apps (AuScope Earth)
AuScope Maps App
...Seismic Monitoring
the Project Plan
TGS-Core
Web Map Services and Web Feature Services
10
www.ausgeol.org
Federal Office for Learning and Teaching and partner universities
a consortium of other universities and geological surveys
University of Tasmania
  1. Virtual Library of Australia's Geology
  2. Agisoft Photoscan photogrammetry software
Sites
11
University of Waterloo
Groundwater Simulations Group HydroGeoSphere FLAC3DVS not determined not determined
12
Pangaea
CSIS University of Padua
IGEO Universidad Complutense
Cabildo de Lanzarote, y Archipiélago Chinijo
Gobierno de Canarias
CAVES
13
Geoscience Information System Project
Cornell University
nil nil
14
Innovative Manufacturing CRC
University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes
Wearable Computer Lab tinmith nil nil Jumbo Vision International

[The animation for the TimeScale Creator website] [The logo for Cornell University] [The logo for Clark University] [The logo for Wearable Computer Lab at the University of South Australia] [The logo of 'Australian Technology Network' of universities.] [The logo of the Government of the Canary Islands]

The AuScope offering in Table 5 is certainly a "thumbnail dipped in tar" compared to the American programmes, but it is superior to the research groups below. For while they have the support of their department managers, they are just researching mineral surveying, with the odd prototype, but definitely no development agenda.

Australian National University
Geothermal Program
Research School of Earth Sciences
Australian School of Petroleum
Adelaide University Number 1 Test Well
Reservoir Analogues Research Group (RARG)
Stress, Structure and Seismic Group
cooperative research centres (CRC programme)
Australian Geodynamics
Deep Exploration Technologies
Landscape Environments & Mineral Exploration
Greenhouse Gas Technologies
GETSI - GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues.
Visible Earthquakes from 3point Science.
University of Adelaide
Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity
National Centre for Social Applications of GIS
Waite Agricultural Research Institute
the University of Melbourne
Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration
Documentation and Cultural Heritage Animation and Visualisation Unit
Spatial Information Science

This list is isolated individual teams struggling on several project grants.

[The log from the CISAS website] [The logo of the Western Australian School of Mines] [The log for The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training] [The logo of the Lanzarote Geopark, the Canary Islands] [The logo for Columbia University Robotics Group]

The Geoscience Gateway is compiled by GRANT JACQUIER as a free service for individuals and organisations interested in computer application for practical geoscience.
Material on the Geoscience Gateway may be freely published provided acknowledgement of the source is given. All statements and analysis contained in these pages are opinion only based on information from various sources. 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.

This page was created in May 2002.
© 2017 Grant Jacquier