Tools and techniques for 3D geologic mapping in ArcScene; boreholes, cross sections, and block diagrams

Jennifer E. Carrell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In the life cycle of a geologic mapping project, a geolo¬gist is likely to use five or more different software packages, such as borehole logging programs (WellCAD, LogPlot), database programs (Microsoft Access, Oracle), GIS programs (ArcGIS), specialized modeling software (RockWorks, Surfer, gOcad, GSI3D), and Web-based tools (Google Maps/Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth). In addition to these programs, graphics programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, are used for cartographic and production work. Although there is some overlap in functionality among software packages, there is currently no one-stop solution for geologic mapping. For a given task in the mapping process, one program might be better suited than others. The choice of software is often a matter of personal preference and convenience as well as functionality. This paper, based on a poster presented at the 2011 DMT Workshop, focuses on the functionality of Esri’s ArcScene for 3D mapping. I discuss techniques for creating and editing 3D boreholes and cross sections using custom tools as well as out-of-the-box functionality in ArcScene 10. Examples from mapping projects at the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) illustrate how these are used in the mapping workflow. The customization of ArcScene with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) has played a key role in making ArcScene efficient and practical for geologic mapping.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDigital mapping techniques '11-12 workshop proceedings
EditorsDavid R. Soller
PublisherU. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, United States
ISBN (Print)0196-1497
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameOpen-File Report - U.S.Geological Survey


  • ISGS


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