We have reviewed the requirements of geological characterization, the factors
that complicate computerization of the process, and the various computer
techniques that have evolved from applications in the different geoscience sectors.
The principal data sources, data flow, data structures and operations involved in
the computerized process are illustrated schematically in Fig. 3.1. This chapter is
devoted to summarizing the principal features of a computerized approach that
meets the identified requirements and addresses the complications.
Much of the technology is not new. The approach utilizes the advantages of
many of the techniques that have been developed and applied in the past. These
include conventional statistical analysis; geostatistical analysis of spatial
variability; geostatistical prediction of variables; the use of 3D grid (or raster)
models as data structures for representing the spatial variation of variables; use of
the triangulated surface approach for creating models of relatively simple
geological conditions; and enhanced visualization techniques that have evolved
from graphics animation.
What is new is that these existing characterization tools have been integrated and
extended by a technology which provides a unique geometrical characterization of
discrete geological volumes. Its uniqueness derives from its ability to represent
either simple or complex irregular shapes with equal efficiency and precision; to
accommodate the interactive geological interpretation process; to apply geological
control to the variable prediction process; and to provide a variety of precise
volumetric determinations. We call this technology volume modeling. It has been
developed specifically to meet the requirements of geological characterization and
to overcome the limitations and deficiencies of earlier techniques.
- we have to recognize that we are dealing with 3D conditions that are potentially highly variable and discontinuous in all dimensions.
- We will not be able to satisfy our end objective of determining irregular volumes and their contents with acceptable precision unless.
- a common 3D spatial framework. This means that every item of information, including sample, observatio
- satisfied by conventional GIS or CAD technologies.
- We must also maintain the necessary data associations.
- We need to be able to access a borehole log both as a collective unit of information (in a familiar log format) and as a set of individual samples and observations in their correct locations.
- surveyor geological map must be maintained. Each of these data entities contains
- geometrical features (points, lines, polygons, etc.) with associated characteristic
- geometry and spatial relationship are not satisfied by conventional database technology.
- If we carefully analyze the contents and associations of all possible sources of investigative information, then we find that the majority can be accommodated
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