Page 2–The GeoRecord Vol 6.2
Winter 2000
From the Director

by Lee Allison,

Director and State Geologist

Director's Photo


The challenges for the Survey are to digitize all the data we have, in many different formats, and get them online.

If the movie “The Graduate” were filmed today, the one word of advice given to Dustin Hoffman would no longer be “plastics.” Today the word would be “web,” as in the Internet.

The world has been going digital for many years, but the web is hastening that process by making digital data and every other kind of information instantly and easily accessible. And it is not just the “dot-com” businesses that are running this new industry. Government is a big player in the game because governments gather and generate massive amounts of data of all types. So while e-commerce businesses are scrambling to beat rivals to market with new services and products, governments are racing to digitize their operations and data banks and make them publicly available. Government agencies realize that they can reduce costs, improve productivity, and increase public services using the web.

The Kansas Geological Survey efforts on the web are increasing in depth and breadth [see the story in this issue]. Based on feedback from our website users, it appears that we are providing more of what our customers want and in formats that are easier to use. The Survey website contains close to 10,000 pages and is growing rapidly. Overall usage doubled to 120,000 hits per month from January 1999 to January 2000. (At the beginning of 1996, when our website was relatively new, we saw fewer than 10,000 hits per month.) Our water well completion form (“WWC5”) data base receives up to 6,000 hits per month. The data base reporting oil and gas lease production is the most popular, getting up to 12,000 hits per month.

The challenges for the Survey are to digitize all the data we have, in many different formats, and get them online. This includes scanning out-of-print publications, paper geophysical well logs, tables of chemical analyses, and photographs of rock thin-sections. Concurrently, we need to develop metadata for each data base (that is, information about what is in each data base) and ensure that different data sets are compatible with each other and usable by popular software applications.

The Survey has served as the State’s leading mapping agency for more than a century. To retain this role, we moved aggressively into GIS (geographic information systems) technology many years ago. The next step is to integrate GIS products with web-based map servers to create interactive digital maps. As we add spatially based digital data bases, users (including Survey researchers) can generate customized thematic maps at their own computers in real time.

The Data Access and Support Center (DASC), housed at the Survey, is the state’s GIS clearinghouse. Initially, DASC emphasized providing data of particular relevance to the State Water Plan. The Survey and the State both support efforts to make DASC the gateway to all Kansas GIS data.

All these efforts and approaches are the initial steps in creating Digital Kansas, a seamless, distributed system that could ultimately bring together all data, software, and application tools to web-users.


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