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Using digital databases to create geologic maps for the 21st century : a GIS model for geologic, environmental, cultural and transportation data from southern Rhode Island
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    Knowledge of surface and subsurface geology is fundamental to the planning and development of new or modified transportation systems. Toward this end, we have compiled a model GIS database consisting of important geologic, cartographic, environmental, and cultural data. These data are presented as spatially defined themes that can be overlaid on-screen or in printed format to quickly show the geographic distribution of the diverse types of data. Such capability permits the quick determination of the spatial relationship of t ransportation corridors to geologic setting, environmentally sensitive areas, areas of cultural importance, and other relevant features, which in turn expedites site evaluation and planning. Geologic data include Well-Boring Data, Depth to Bedrock, Bedrock Geology, Glacial Deposits, Outcrops, Soils, Groundwater Reservoirs, and Groundwater Recharge Areas. Subsurface geologic and hydrologic data associated with the site-specific well-boring data are an integral component of the database including land-surface elevation, depth to water table, depth to bedrock, and material properties, all of which are invaluable for transportation planning. Users of this database can quickly assess the distribution and quality of existing subsurface data, readily identifying locations where supplementary data are needed. Thus, the need for expensive new borings that duplicate previous effort can be minimized. Our project serves as a model for 21st Century compilation of geologic and geotechnical information for transportation corridors on a local to statewide basis. The database is structured to easily incorporate new data as it is acquired, thus providing condensed, easily accessed information essential to transportation planning. In addition to transportation applications, the spatial data also is of interest to a broader audience, including state agencies dealing with environmental management and planning issues, town planners, conservation and environmental groups, and concerned citizens.
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