SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Using AutoCAD as a Desktop Geographic Information System for Hydrogeological Investigations


The popular personal computer-based computer aided drafting program AutoCAD has been utilized for the purpose of assembling and mapping information for ground-water quality studies. The power of this methodology for information management is its capacity to coalesce information from many different sources and formats, and present it in a common graphical format. The basis of this system consists of commercially available AutoCAD drawing files created from U.S. Geological Survey digital databases which contain information on terrain elevations, the location of transportation and water features, and the names of cities, towns, and major landmarks. Using these drawing files as base maps, a graphical hydrogeological database for a particular area can be assembled by importing different types of information such as bedrock topography, hydraulic conductivity distributions, or potential contaminant source locations into different data planes, or layers. Any desired combination of layers can be displayed concurrently at the same scale. Furthermore, output from ground-water flow or contaminant transport models as well as statistical estimation routines can be imported and displayed simultaneously in correct geographic orientation in relation to previously mapped features. This capability of overlaying mapped information allows for the recognition of data relationships that might not have been apparent otherwise. Examples are provided which illustrate all of these operations and indicate how appropriate mapping of available information can provide valuable insight for hydrogeological investigations.

Author Information

Varljen, MD
Office of Ground Water Quality and Contamination, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL
Wehrmann, HA
Office of Ground Water Quality and Contamination, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 207–225
DOI: 10.1520/STP24198S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5188-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1471-5