Saturday, July 14, 2012

Digitizing Arizona's mining maps and files

We've just completed scanning of 10,000 maps of Arizona mining and mineral resources and our technicians will begin georeferencing them and identifying a couple dozen different pieces of information about each map ("metadata") to enter into an online digital catalog. 

For the past year, AZGS has been scanning and digitizing the paper records from the files from the Arizona Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources (ADMMR).   ADMMR and AZGS were merged last year and the legislation directed us to convert the extensive files into electronic format for public access.

We've inventoried the rooms full of files, covering 32 separate donated collections with 13,500 folders comprising over 835,000 pages of records, 7,400 historical photos, hundreds of theses, as well as the maps.

Eight of the collections have been fully inventoried and those listings are posted online at the AZGS Document Repository.

As we get the data online, you'll be able to search by title, keyword, location, or do a map-based search, to bring it all to your screen, using your own software or free tools like Google Earth or Microsoft's Layerscape, and at no cost.  The project was funded by a one-time appropriation from the state and partial matching funds from the USGS National Geological & Geophysical Data Preservation Project.   We estimate we are about one-quarter of the way through scanning and documenting the entire set of materials.

We are linking the mining files with other digital data including oil and gas wells, geochemical files, age dates, etc, that we are digitizing under different projects.  Eventually, we will have all our data online for free downloading in interoperable formats that allow you to make mashups of anything we have.   And our data is compatible with digital data formats being deployed by the USGS, other state geological surveys, and a growing collection of organizations and institutions nationally and globally.  There is truly a revolution underway to build cyberinfrastructure.


  1. Kudos to you and AZGS for undertaking this awesome project. I hope the funding will see it through to completion.

    Are there any of these collections and mining data that someone has claimed as proprietary? I recall a couple years ago there was a bit of a dustup over AZGS publishing some CO2 drilling stuff up north. How is that potential being handled?

  2. Generally, collections donated to us are given with full use. We don't digitize published, copyrighted materials. If anything has a confidentiality provision, we may still digitize it and either hold it in a secure file or not put it in a file that is accessible from the web.