State First With Digital Geologic Maps

Contact: Ralph Derickson

Photo of Kentucky Digital Geologic Map of Jessamine/Garrard County line
Kentucky Digital Geologic Map of Jessamine/Garrard County line

Photo of the Palisades on Kentucky River
Palisades on Kentucky River corresponds with Digital Mapping photo above

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At its 44th annual meeting, Friday, April 30, KGS will commemorate the official completion of the digital conversion of the maps. The ceremony, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the KGS Well Sample and Core Library located at 2500 Research Park Drive in Lexington.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 16, 2004) -- On April 30, the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky will reach a milestone in the history of geologic mapping in the United States. In a comprehensive eight-year project, KGS has converted to digital format 707 printed geologic quadrangle (GQ) maps (1:24,000-scale, 7.5 minute) for Kentucky.

At its 44th annual meeting, Friday, April 30, KGS will commemorate the official completion of the digital conversion of the maps. The ceremony, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the KGS Well Sample and Core Library located at 2500 Research Park Drive in Lexington.

Among the guests at the ceremony will be Susan Bush, commissioner, Department for Natural Resources, Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet; Randall Orndorff, associate program coordinator, National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.; and Ron Gilkerson, chair, KGS Advisory Board, and president, GRW, Lexington, Ky. Directions to the KGS Well Sample and Core Library are available online.

"In Kentucky, we have a proud legacy. In 1978, we became the first state of significant size in the nation to achieve complete detailed geologic map coverage,” said KGS director Jim Cobb. “ We are now the first state to have complete digital geologic map data for the entire state. This provides an incredible foundation of geologic information that is easily accessible, inexpensive, and widely distributed for the benefit of future generations of people in the Commonwealth."

Geologic maps have been the most popular among all of the technical publications sold by KGS. More than 200,000 GQ maps (1:24,000 scale, 7.5 minute) have been sold since they first became available for Kentucky in the 1960s. The process of converting the original printed GQ maps into digital format began in 1996.

Warren Anderson, the principal investigator of the KGS Digital Geologic Mapping Program will make a presentation about the work at 9 a.m. April 30 at the ceremony on Research Park Drive. Anderson will discuss the highlights of the program and present a computer demonstration using digital data from all 707quadrangles.

The conversion of the paper maps into a digital format has numerous benefits, KGS director Cobb said. Many of the original GQ maps are out of print. The new digital geologic map data permanently preserves this valuable geologic information for use by future generations. The digital format allows changes to be readily made to the original map data. This saves time and money because it would be prohibitively expensive to print revised maps.

Digital data from each quadrangle can be distributed easily to users on CD-ROM or through access on the World Wide Web, making the data much more accessible. The digital format also allows users to manipulate and analyze the data in a variety of computer applications and is particularly useful in geographic information systems (GIS).


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