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Traditionally, most GIS investigations present data from surficial aquifers in a 2-D plane and neglect data from boreholes and wells because it adds a third dimension to the data. This 2-D information is useful for determining surficial geology, soils and vegetation cover, all of which influence recharge and non point ground-water contaminants from pesticides and fertilizers. Using traditional GIS systems for the development of multi-layered ground water models is cumbersome and does not adequately deal with the third (depth) dimension.
However, most input data available for ground-water investigations comes from borehole logs and water well records frequently obtained as a result of a variety used for site characterization. Because of the three-dimensional nature of these data, ground water analysis should be carried out by ground-water professionals using programs designed for this specific purpose. The resulting output can be imported into GIS systems and then used by other professionals in planning, health, agriculture, and a variety of environmental applications.
ground water, GIS, wellhead protection, site characterization
Associate hydrogeologist, South Pass Resources, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ