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Natural Resources
Natural Resources


o Agriculture
o Archaeology
o Environmental Management
o Forestry
o Marine and Coast
o Mining and Earth Science
o Petroleum
o Pipeline

o The Role of GIS in Agriculture

The study of geographic features and the relationship between them, can be applied to all agriculture sectors.

By better understanding how features within the landscape interact, decision makers can optimize efficiency and improve economic returns. Regardless of scale, whether at the subfield level analyzing crop yield information or internationally assisting governmental organizations with commodity subsidy programs, GIS will become commonplace in the information technologies domain.

GIS Solutions for Agriculture:

Business decisions for the agriculture industry can be derived from the spatial analysis tools embedded in GIS. Software includes ArcGIS and ArcView 9.x and their associated software extensions—ArcGIS SpatialAnalyst, ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst, and ArcView Image Analysis. These extensions provide the farm manager the tools to interpolate data surfaces from point information, calculate the probability of certain agronomic events such as unfavorable climatic events, and incorporate satellite data concerning land use or live weather reports. ArcPad allows you to collect and organize real-time data from field observations and create specific forms that reduce field worker error.

GIS and Production Agriculture:

At a grassroots level, GIS offers farmers various opportunities to increase production, reduce input costs, and manage the land in their care more efficiently. From handheld computer mapping in the field to the scientific analysis of production data at the farm manager's office, geography plays a part. These examples of applications of GIS at the farm level are meant to provide users, both experienced and inexperienced, with some ideas for implementation

Data Collection in the Field:

Farmers and others involved in agricultural production at the field level, through firsthand knowledge, often have great insight into how best to manage a farm's natural resources. While never being able to replace such expert knowledge, technology is certainly able to assist in the planning and implementation of important decisions related to land management. In order to make the right decision, farmers need to have the best information at hand, often in the field. Geographic data has for many years been created, used, and delivered only in the office. Now, new technology in computing allows the farmer to take the power of GIS into the field. ArcPad software can be used on handheld computers in the field for the creation, visualization, and querying of data.

Handheld GIS solutions such as ArcPad loaded on the Compaq iPAQ, shown below, provide farmers with the ability to look at images of their fields while they are actually standing in them. Editing capabilities provide the farmer with the ability to map various crop growing stresses found within a field such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, and water shortages. These stresses are highlighted on the ArcPad map, and the information is stored in a format that is usable in other software products. By collecting such data in the field, solutions can be devised and preventative measures outlined.

A farmer can connect to the Internet via a handheld telephone or Wide Area Network (WAN) for additional data input like weather updates. ArcPad has a developer's toolkit that allows customized applications that provide field-workers simple forms to fill in that automatically create data attributes.

The creation of necessary data sets for the field or subfield level has always proved challenging but with the assistance of ArcPad, real-time data collection is now a reality.

ArcPad is the farmer's modern shirtpocket notepad. Farmer's will be able to collect whatever information is relevant to them at that moment and enter it to its proper field location through maps. The data collected then can be analyzed and better decisions made by using the many different scalable ESRI product solutions.

o Geography Matters for Archaeological Research and Resource Management

Archaeologists, as researchers and resource managers, understand the importance of geography. Geographic variables exert a strong influence on human behavior today, and archaeologists are aware of the significance of this influence in the past. Geography also influences the degree of exposure of archaeological sites, and the impacts that they face from human activity and natural forces. Management and research decisions are based on geography. Geographic analysis and modeling provides answers to a variety of questions, and helps make informed decisions.

o Geography Matters to Environmental Management

GIS for Environment is
o More efficient management of environment
o Science based decisions
o Collaboration with your peers
o Citizen access
o Geographic data creation, discovery, integration
o Reduce data creation duplication
o Field-to-lab-to-policy/publishing/reporting
Geography is the key to helping government and commercial entities monitor the environment more efficiently and cost-effectively. It also is the key to helping organizations comply with the multilateral environmental regulations that are the result of growing global markets.

o Geography Matters to Forestry

Managing forests in today's ever-changing world is becoming an increasingly complex and demanding challenge to forest managers. Plans, resource considerations, and business decisions are made in an atmosphere of often conflicting values and with considerable uncertainty.

o Ecosystem Management
o Fire Response
o Forest Access and Road Planning
o Harvest Scheduling
o Strategic Planning

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

GIS software solutions provide foresters and natural resource managers with powerful tools for better analysis and decision making. GIS gives you the "big picture" about the resources under your care and lets you perform tasks such as developing long-term supply strategies, forecasting silvicultural stock, determining harvesting system options, and many more.

1. GIS for Ecosystem Management

GIS technology provides an ideal environment from which to describe, analyze, and model ecosystem processes and functions. Interactions and relationships among diverse ecosystem components can be explored and visualized using the powerful analytical and visualization tools that GIS software provides.

GIS Solutions

Complex interactions across space and time have been effectively modeled and visualized using an array of software including
o ArcInfo
o ArcInfo extensions ArcGrid, ArcTin, and ArcNetwork
o ArcView
o ArcView extensions Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, Image Analysis, and Network Analyst

2. GIS for Fire Response

Every year wildfires destroy forests, kill people, threaten endangered species, and cause a tremendous amount of property damage and economic loss.

Understanding the direction, location, rate of spread, intensity, and burned areas of wildfires is critical for long-term wildfire management planning and effective suppression strategies. Mapping the direction of the smoke caused by the fire is also important. Smoke can spread into delicate, smoke-sensitive ecological areas or into developed areas, causing further loss of life and property damage.

GIS technology can help forest managers and response teams plan resources effectively. It can be used to model and map the spread of a fire and determine its intensity. It can also be used to model the direction of smoke plumes. More importantly, GIS can be used before a fire occurs to help plan prevention and response strategies.

GIS Solutions

ESRI solutions for fire management include
o ArcInfo
o ArcView
with the ArcView Spatial Analyst and ArcView Image Analysis extensions

3. GIS for Forest Access and Road Planning

GIS tools allow harvest planners to dynamically assign timing of access and haul cost attributes to the existing inventory database for several road access alternatives. When combined with other standard features such as species composition and merchantable volume, it is possible to analyze the effect a road network design has on delivered wood costs.

Other applications of road and forest access planning performed by GIS users include the following:
o Terrain and slope stability analysis
o Cut and fill estimates
o Visibility and view-shed analysis
o Alignment and grade calculations
o Right-of-way corridor studies
o Environmental impact assessment
o Integration of survey data
o Cost and flow analysis

GIS Solutions

ESRI solutions for forest access and road planning include
o ArcInfo
o ArcView with the ArcView Network Analyst extensions

4. GIS for Harvest Scheduling

Spatial forest modeling using GIS technology is essential to planning harvesting strategies. Spatial models use both the absolute and relative geographic positions of forest stands in developing and testing harvesting strategies.

Using individual stand locations allows the manager to produce harvest schedules and candidate harvest blocks that are easily translated into maps. Mapping different harvesting strategies lets the manager see the economic impact of the harvest and the impact on nearby wildlife.

GIS Solutions

ESRI solutions for harvest scheduling include
o ArcInfo
o ArcView
with the ArcView Spatial Analyst and ArcView Image Analysis extensions

5. GIS for Strategic Planning

Forest management planning involves making forecasts about what the future forest will look like relative to alternative management activities. This ability is crucial to nearly all aspects of management forecasting, particularly long-term wood and wildlife supply.

GIS can play a key role in this analysis. GIS stores both the geographic and numerical structure of the forest stands and links that spatial database to the planning models. It allows the manager to effectively add both the important temporal and spatial dimensions to the management planning process. Within the limits of the inventory and model, the manager can then map what the forest will look like five, 10, 25, or 100 years in the future.

GIS Solutions

ESRI solutions for strategic planning include ArcInfo.
GIS in the Marine and Coastal Community

o GIS for Marine & Coast

The marine and coastal community is a gathering place to share the work, tools, and methods of marine researchers and professionals that use GIS. The coastal zones are home to the majority of our global population, and the oceans and seas provide some of the earth's most important and dynamic elements. As the tools marine practitioners use to gather data have become more sophisticated, so have the methods for management of the resulting information. Managing and mapping the 80 percent of our earth that is water presents a unique set of challenges.

From oceanography to hydrography, navigation to defense, from the coastal shoreline to the bathymetric bottom--marine GIS has been adapted and utilized to assist researchers and organizations in achieving their goals


As we become increasingly aware of the world's oceans and seas and the many resources they contain, we have an inherent responsibility to preserve them. Researchers, organizations, and professionals dedicated to understanding and analyzing this dynamic and changing environment are using GIS to develop marine applications.

ArcGIS software family provides tools to understand the systems at work in the seas and oceans. The geodatabase and ArcSDE allow for new storage and access to data and provide great potential for modeling ocean features, while ArcGIS extensions such as ArcGIS Spatial Analyst and ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst are utilized to produce seafloor surfaces and contours based on interpolation. These new technological tools allow marine researchers to better understand and represent the seas and oceans of the world.

o Geography Matters to the Mining Industry

GIS has been used by the mining community for a long time. Its applications include
o Exploration
o Operations
o Management
o Environmental Management

Various types of geologic data sets, such as geophysical images, geochemistry, geologic maps, radiometric, boreholes, and mineral deposits, can be displayed, interrogated, and analyzed simultaneously using GIS.

ArcGIS software allows earth resources enterprises to manage their spatial and nonspatial data sets in the relational database management system and apply geoprocessing and spatial analysis directly using a desktop GIS. Modern GIS is built on open standards and high system interoperability that make integrating GIS with other specialized mining package programs easy.

Extensions for ArcGIS software have been developed to help geoscientists and mining engineers better understand their data and build their models.

o ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst
o ArcGIS Spatial Analyst
o ArcGIS 3D Analyst

General GIS Products Applicable to Mining and the Earth Sciences

o Scalable ArcGIS
o ArcGIS Extensions
o ArcSDE
Enterprise Geodatabase
o ArcIMS
Web Solution
o ArcWeb Services
o ArcView 3.x
o ArcView 9.x Extensions
o ArcPad
Field GIS
o Developer Solutions

ESRI GIS Products Especially Developed for Earth Science Applications

o ArcGIS Spatial Analyst
o ArcGIS 3D Analyst
o ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst
o ArcGIS Survey Analyst
o ArcView Spatial Analyst
o ArcView 3D Analyst
o ArcView Image Analysis

` 1. GIS for Mining Exploration

Mineral exploration geoscientists use diverse types of data sets to search for new economic deposits. Data sources vary from geologic maps, hyperspectral airborne and multispectral satellite images, and geophysical images to databases in many formats. GIS is an ideal platform to bring them together in a geoscientist's computer and deliver meaningful outcomes.

GIS is now able to help geoscientists in many aspects of their activities: data collection, management, analysis, and reporting. Field geologists can now capture field data electronically using ArcPad and global positioning system (GPS) receivers. Other data sets may be downloaded from the Internet. All of these data sets can be integrated, manipulated, and analyzed using GIS.

Integration with other specialized programs for geophysical data and image processing is easily done with GIS. Raster images, such as satellite imagery or geophysical images, can then be displayed in GIS and overlaid with vector data such as geology, faults, and geochemical samples. Gridding and contouring from point data can also be performed.

Mineral targeting can be done based on multievidence maps analysis, either using qualitative or quantitative methods. Multiple geophysical images can be displayed simultaneously using ArcMap and overlaid by other data sets to evaluate their qualitative spatial relationships. The quantitative method is done through geoprocessing and map algebra. The standard GIS works in vector-cased operations in which geologists can conduct multiple geoprocessing tasks such as querying, creating a buffer, and intersection operations. ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension helps geologists calculate and predict mineral prospectivity through raster-based map algebra, either using data-driven or knowledge-driven methods.

2. GIS for Mining Operations

Pipelines, electric lines, roads, ramps, and other mining facilities change frequently. Engineers and operations staff use GIS for facility planning applications. Keeping track of existing infrastructure and integrating it with the mine plan and block models can be achieved with GIS. GIS can also be used to integrate recent survey data with block models or mine design data from other mining software packages such as TECHBASE®, Vulcan, MineSight®, SURPAC2000™, or Mining Visualization System (MVS).

Often, items positioned along linear features, such as a pipeline and boreholes, are referenced by station numbers or measured lengths. A high-end GIS can create special features that can be referenced by this stationing.

Live GPS is becoming commonplace for monitoring and dispatching haul trucks or drills and for providing grade control on shovels. This data can also be tied to a GIS to monitor the location of all equipment in real time.

3. GIS for Mining Management

Most mining information, including financial and asset information, has some sort of spatial component that can be represented in map form. Management and mineral economists are using GIS in their evaluation of corporate and competitor assets.

ArcGIS software allows direct access to data in the most common corporate spreadsheets and relational databases.

Reserve estimates, annual planned production, or cost per ton statistics can be linked to prospect or mine locations and used to control the map symbols. Regional maps can place the mines or prospects in a regional geologic or political setting. Detailed maps of exploration prospects or active mines can be accessed by a simple point and click on the regional map.

Many companies are taking advantage of the vast amount of data available on the Internet. News clips are harvested daily and served up to management through internal corporate Webs or Intranets. ArcIMS technology is being used to distribute map data over the Web as well.

4. GIS for Environmental Management

Mining companies use GIS to actively monitor the environmental impacts that may be caused by their activities and conduct reclamation. GIS is used for monitoring and reclamation by analyzing and mapping soils, vegetation, surface hydrology, and groundwater. ESRI and its business partners actively promote sustainable development through building a suite of GIS applications that are specifically designed for environmental study.

Performing advanced analysis and visualization of environmental and geologic data can be done easily and quickly using the EQuIS ArcView GIS Interface. This solution involves the integration of several industry-standard applications, such as ArcView 9.x, ArcGIS 9, EQuIS, RockWorks, EVS, and more, to produce a world-class, customizable solution for subsurface investigation and analysis.

EarthSoft's EQuIS family of environmental quality information systems is among the most popular in the world for management of environmental sampling data. A standard for many consulting firms and regulatory agencies--both in the United States and overseas--EQuIS is a favorite among data managers, but even the most junior staff can easily produce reports and results using the suite of interfaces to many industry-standard tools for visualization and analysis.

EarthSoft's EQuIS for ArcGIS, an extension for the ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo 8.x Desktop applications, allows users to query, report, and map the data managed in EQuIS. The EQuIS for ArcGIS extension integrates the leading environmental software packages for specialized tasks. For example, contours created using EQuIS for ArcGIS and Surfer are brought back into the GIS, where they can be used in further analyses with output from other non-GIS applications, such as RockWorks for geologic cross sections. Similar tools are also available for the ArcView 3.x platform.

Making decisions based on geography isn't new in the oil business. Where to drill a well, route a pipeline, or build a refinery are all questions that rely heavily on an understanding of geography in order to make intelligent business decisions.

o Geography Matters to the Petroleum Industry

GIS technology today allows us to manage the spatial components of these everyday petroleum "business objects," such as leases, wells, pipelines, environmental concerns, facilities, and retail outlets, in the corporate database, and apply appropriate geographic analysis efficiently in a desktop-focused application

1. GIS for Exploration and Production

Discovering new sources of petroleum ahead of the competition is one of the keys to staying successful in the petroleum industry. A GIS can help you evaluate the potential for oil in promising locations.

Exploration requires the analysis of a lot of different types of data such as satellite imagery, digital aerial photo mosaics, seismic surveys, surface geology studies, subsurface and cross section interpretations and images, well locations, and existing infrastructure information. A GIS can tie these data together to the location in question and allow you to overlay, view, and manipulate the data in the form of a map to thoroughly analyze the potential for finding new or extending play potential.


To produce found reserves, the company must first understand certain geographic, infrastructure, business conditions, and environmental factors about the area in question. GIS technology is ideally suited to this kind of overlay analysis and can be integrated with other business risk or economic business planning engines to provide a focussed business solution toolset.

GIS Solutions

These are several software solutions to help you with exploration and production:
o ArcGIS—Scalable, component-based GIS
o ArcInfo—Full-featured professional GIS
o ArcView—Desktop GIS for professionals throughout the enterprise who need to access, integrate, and map the data on the desktop.
o ArcSDE—For warehousing spatial data and storing them with related tabular data.
o MapObjects—A toolbox of desktop GIS functionality for the solutions builder.
o ArcIMS—A fully functional Internet development environment for Web deployment, integratable with most leading commercial Internet systems.

2. GIS for Facilities Management

Managing Facilities Worldwide

The global nature of the petroleum industry results in an infrastructure that is vast and difficult to manage. A large, integrated oil company must keep track of everything from drilling platforms to pipeline networks to refineries. The commercial, operational, and often harsh environmental conditions in which these facilities exist make it critical that they be planned, operated, and maintained effectively.

Often, finding an economic reserve is as much dependent on a practically and properly implemented facilities structure as it is on the exploration and production itself. Certainly the profitability of a commercial venture is often heavily dependent on the facility and pipeline infrastructure.

GIS can be used to map the gathering and transmission of products to a facility. Once there, integrating with more traditional "in plant" infrastructure management systems, such as CAD, attribute records, and scanned documents, allows the true geographic placement of CAD entities complementing the CAD architecture.

GIS Solutions

ESRI's solutions for petroleum facilities management include
o ArcGIS—Scalable, component-based GIS
o ArcSDE
o ArcInfo
o ArcView with the ArcView Network Analyst extension

3. GIS for Retail Planning

Where Is the Best Place to Put a Gas Station?

Like businesses in most industries, the question of where to place a retail outlet must be answered carefully to ensure the site reaches its full sales potential.

Companies such as Texaco use GIS to analyze demographic and transportation information to effectively choose retail sites and build outlets tailored to the anticipated customer segment. They can also use the technology to analyze customer receipts for stores to adjust the store profile and stock.

GIS Solutions

Business analysis software for this area of expertise include
o ArcGIS
o ArcView
o ArcView Business Analyst

4. Utility GIS Solutions

Spatially enabled information can help solve business problems within a utility

1. Asset Information

Predictive maintenance
o Using spatial analysis to find out where problems may exist.
o Using spatial analysis to better schedule and coordinate work.

Corrective maintenance
o Locate where bad performing assets tend occur and fix them.

Load forecasting and planning
o Using external data sources to find out where new loads may materialize.

2. Outage Management

o GIS links to OMS.
o Connectivity – network model must be maintained.
o ArcGIS has extensive networking facilities.
o Extend the OMS using ArcGIS Schematics.
o Critical customer service and regulatory issues.

o Geography Matters to the Pipeline Industry

Competitive pressure and regulatory constraints are placing increasing demands on pipeline operators to operate in an efficient and responsible manner. Responding to these demands requires accessibility to

information regarding geographically distributed assets and operations.
GIS technology facilitates the organization and management of data with a geographic component. It also eases data acquisition and utilization. GIS provides the pipeline operator with improved capability to manage pipeline integrity, improved efficiencies in pipeline operations, and improved response to business development opportunities

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