The University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA), a division of the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum, were proud to launch the Integrated Exploration Platform (IEP) at the Annual GSWA Open Day in February 2016, in the presence of the Honourable Minister For Finance; Mines and Petroleum, Hon. Bill Marmion. The release of the IEP marks the culmination of over two years of collaborative effort, to develop a novel and effective software toolset to empower WA mineral explorers with state-of-the-art data analytics to maximise geological insight from geoscience datasets. The IEP applies innovative data analytic technology to assist human experts in refining their geological interpretations, which are essential in making exploration decisions with significant financial implications for the industry.
The Geodata Algorithms Team, within the Centre for Exploration Targeting (CET) at the School of Earth and Environment, developed the IEP by working closely with GSWA, CET researchers, and external industry correspondence. The IEP development team include Dr. Jason Wong, Prof Eun-Jung Holden, Prof Peter Kovesi, Dr. Daniel Wedge and Mr. David Nathan at UWA, and Dr Ruth Murdie and Dr Klaus Gessner at GSWA. Strongly equipped with algorithm and software development skills, the Geodata Algorithms Team brought together a software solution targeted at improving the quality of geological interpretation for mineral exploration. The team has been active in delivering tools for the resource industry. They previously developed and commercialised three geodata analytics tools (CET Grid Analysis and CET Porphyry Detection extensions for Geosoft Oasis Montaj, and Image and Structure Interpretation module for ALT’s WellCAD) which are being used globally by mining and petroleum companies and consultancies.
The IEP has been released as a plugin to ArcGIS, an industry standard geographic information system (GIS), which is used to integrate diverse geoscience datasets to target mineralisation. Now with the IEP, this capability can be expanded with innovative multi-data visualisation tools that combine multiple datasets (such as magnetic data, gravity data, satellite imagery, and many others) in an intuitive way that highlights correlations and easy-to-miss features from the data. Additionally, the IEP also leverages novel image analysis techniques to allow for a layer of feature evidence to be generated, a critical layer of information that can assist interpreters to refine their interpretations. In many ways, this feature evidence information can function like an equivalent of a spell-checker for geological interpretation, where an interpretation line can be ‘data-checked’ for how well it matches the underlying data.
With this first public release of the IEP, the team is excited at the potential impact on the mineral exploration industry. But it is only the first step, as the team plans to gather further feedback and suggestions from industry users, so that the IEP can continue to evolve to the changing needs of the minerals industry, as new types of data acquisition technology and exploration methodologies are introduced.
This project has been supported by GSWA through the Exploration Incentive Scheme and the Australian Research Council through a Linkage Grant. IEP is free to use for anyone using ArcGIS with datasets within Western Australia. For more information (including video demonstrations) see (http://www.WAExplorationPlatform.com).
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716
Prof Eun-Jung Holden (Centre for Exploration Targeting – School of Earth and Environment) (+61 8) 6488 5806)