Collection and georeferencing of contextual information for exploration and research is a time-consuming process. This typically involves an online search for articles or maps, using relevant keywords, followed either by the purchase of publications or digital data and the extraction and georeferencing of maps to assess their relevance. If certain features are relevant then digitization and classification of key information, typically into a GIS package, ensues. This is a hit-and-miss approach, as a great number of published articles contain little or no usable spatial information, despite their titles or keywords responding to search criteria.
GeoPoint circumvents this process by providing a reliable, comprehensive, spatially-accurate suite of geological point and section data for geoscientists, academics and financial institutions. GeoPoint assists research and decision-making by providing a quick and interactive method for discerning the scope of information that is available for a particular region, thereby directing the user towards more relevant source articles and their contained information.
GeoPoint’s data comprises georeferenced map and cross-section extents, geochronological information and mineral occurrences throughout Africa (excluding South Africa). The compilation of mineral occurrences for GeoPoint does not include the open-source MRDS data supplied by the USGS, however should the user wish to do so, this dataset is easily incorporated. Each data point, line or polygon contains attributed metadata, including a full reference to the original source, figure caption, map type, rock type, mineral name and age (in Ma). The database, which is designed to be easily accessed due to its small file size, allows for the user’s own geological datasets to be overlain in the familiar ArcView/ArcMap environment. Users can also import additional layers, such as base maps and raster datasets from other sources.
GeoPoint is the result of more than six years of data collation from multiple sources, such as peer-reviewed journals and code-compliant technical company reports. The database has been designed with the end-user in mind, allowing seamless integration with a user’s project-specific data within Esri’s ArcGIS software platform (QGIS and MapInfo formats are under development). Subscribers connect to a dedicated, ArcServer-hosted database with unique login credentials. An ArcGIS license is therefore essential for GeoPoint users.
Whilst GeoPoint does not provide the original sources of research or maps, all data are referenced, thereby allowing users to quickly focus on key research. The database, which is updated continuously, currently comprises relevant geological information from over 2000 carefully selected sources, classified into approximately 3200 map outlines and their metadata, 2000 data points with radiometric ages, 2800 mineral occurrences and 850 cross-sections. We welcome feedback from users, as well as contributions of data, in order to expand the database.