6
CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of responses to the NRC questionnaire indicates the following conclusions:

  1. Of geoscience map users, 66 percent are in private industry, 16 percent are in federal, state, and local government, and 13 percent are in academia.

  2. Of the respondents, 65 percent are engaged in resource planning, exploration, and development, with exploration accounting for half that amount.

  3. Over 80 percent of the respondents used one or more geoscience maps annually, and over two-thirds used between 10 and 500. Conservative interpretation of these figures suggests 5 million maps are used annually. There appeared to be little variation in frequency of use by user group except by local government, whose map requirements appear to be 30 to 50 percent lower than others.

  4. Industry relies on itself for 38 percent of the maps it uses, on federal agencies for 27 percent, and on state agencies for 18 percent. Since only 10 percent of map-making geologists in the United States are employed by federal agencies and 4 percent by state agencies, there is a considerable dependence by industry on these agencies.

  5. Federal and state agencies are by far the major sources of geoscience maps that actually reach the user community as a whole, with federal sources relied upon one-half again as much as the states.

  6. Full-color geologic maps on a topographic base at a large to medium scale (1:62,500 and larger) clearly constitute the geoscience map type most important to users. Geophysical maps were the second most important type.

  7. For current map needs, the most important province is the Gulf Coastal Plain, due to the high interest of the petroleum industry. Six of the ten most important



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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs 6 CONCLUSIONS Analysis of responses to the NRC questionnaire indicates the following conclusions: Of geoscience map users, 66 percent are in private industry, 16 percent are in federal, state, and local government, and 13 percent are in academia. Of the respondents, 65 percent are engaged in resource planning, exploration, and development, with exploration accounting for half that amount. Over 80 percent of the respondents used one or more geoscience maps annually, and over two-thirds used between 10 and 500. Conservative interpretation of these figures suggests 5 million maps are used annually. There appeared to be little variation in frequency of use by user group except by local government, whose map requirements appear to be 30 to 50 percent lower than others. Industry relies on itself for 38 percent of the maps it uses, on federal agencies for 27 percent, and on state agencies for 18 percent. Since only 10 percent of map-making geologists in the United States are employed by federal agencies and 4 percent by state agencies, there is a considerable dependence by industry on these agencies. Federal and state agencies are by far the major sources of geoscience maps that actually reach the user community as a whole, with federal sources relied upon one-half again as much as the states. Full-color geologic maps on a topographic base at a large to medium scale (1:62,500 and larger) clearly constitute the geoscience map type most important to users. Geophysical maps were the second most important type. For current map needs, the most important province is the Gulf Coastal Plain, due to the high interest of the petroleum industry. Six of the ten most important

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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs provinces are in the Basin Range-Rocky Mountains; the remaining three in the Midcontinent and Great Plains. For future map needs, the most important province is the Central Rocky Mountain Thrust Belt. Again, six of the ten most important provinces are in the Basin Range-Rocky Mountains. The Gulf Coastal Plain is third ranked, behind Basin Range-Rocky Mountains Foreland province. The three other top-ranked provinces are the Midcontinent, Southern Great Plains, and the Appalachian Fold and Thrust Belt. Respondents engaged in resource exploration and scientific research ranked the Basin Range-Rocky Mountain provinces as most important for future map needs. Respondents engaged in resource development ranked as most important the Great Plains-Midcontinent provinces. Respondents largely engaged in engineering ranked as most important the three southern Appalachian provinces. Respondents engaged in hazard mitigation ranked the tectonically active West Coast provinces as most in need of geologic mapping in the future. Engineering geologists, groundwater geologists, and planners, concerned with tectonically active areas and rapidly developing areas where groundwater supplies are important, indicated almost all their needs to be in the westernmost United States. Comparison of current map needs with future needs indicates decreasing needs in the Gulf Coastal Plain and Southern Great Plains and increasing needs in the Basin Range-Rocky Mountains. Responses suggest geoscience map needs may have peaked for the Gulf Coastal Plain, may be at the peak for the Southern Great Plains, and may be approaching the peak for the Midcontinent. Moderate to large increases in future map requirements were indicated for all other conterminous U.S. provinces. For future map requirements the Alaskan provinces showed a greater percentage increase than any other part of the United States. Except for the Atlantic Gulf Coast, offshore provinces were ranked moderately low in their current level of importance, but responses indicated sizable future increases in map needs. With few exceptions, respondents indicated a need for large-scale geoscience maps. The importance of smaller scales is relatively greater in Alaska, probably because large areas are still essentially unmapped and information is needed as soon as possible.

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Geologic Mapping: Future Needs The large-scale, general-purpose, color geologic map was overwhelmingly indicated as the single most important type of geoscience map needed in the future. In response to future recommended innovations in geoscience maps, many respondents indicated a need for additional high-quality ground truth map data, a ready and inexpensive means for map data manipulation, improved ways to portray map data, and a ready means to determine where data reside and they how can be accessed. The single largest response to this question stressed the need for new high-quality, field-based, detailed, general-purpose geologic maps.