The generation of new mineral exploration targets is data-driven and the Department for Energy and Mining has recognised that our data has to be developed to support modern exploration.

The future requires near real-time, seamless, high quality digital geological data which is compatible with machine learning and artificial intelligence programs.

The South Australian Discovery Mapping (SADM) project aims to do just that by modernising the capture, management, delivery, and scope of South Australia’s pre-competitive geological map datasets.

This project will run until 2024, with outcomes providing extensive support to industry and assisting with de-risking areas of the state.

Project summary

SADM has three integrated components:

  1. Develop a modern data management and delivery system which integrates with existing databases now, and into the future.
  2. Design and build a data capture system to manage the capture of new geological data with in-built quality control.
  3. Translate and integrate existing geological data / legacy data.

The system is being developed to deliver modern geological data South Australia-wide, however the initial focus will be on the Gawler Craton Airborne Survey (GCAS) region with the aspiration for future expansion to the rest of the state.

This project will exponentially improve upon the geological map data currently available for mineral exploration and the general public. The diagram below demonstrates the level of detail to be delivered by the project through the geological interpretation of the GCAS data (right) in comparison with the existing solid geology (left).

Existing and new data

The SADM project will deliver significantly improved and seamless geological map and associated data in a format that better meets the business needs of mineral explorers and data scientists. This will facilitate mineral exploration targeting using machine-learning, thus supporting the development of the mineral resources sector in South Australia.

Project diary

December 2022

At Discovery Day 2022 Dr Megan Williams updated the audience on the stratigraphic definition work being undertaken as part of SA Discovery Mapping and explores how the fundamental work of stratigraphic definition can provide new avenues for investigation of geology and mineralisation potential.

November 2022

A new article in the MESA Journal highlights the work done, and the data available, on aeromagnetic images as part of the SA Discovery Mapping project. The article Aeromagnetic images of the Gawler Craton: enhancements serving geological interpretation using the HSV colour model looks at a procedure for image enhancement applied to the aeromagnetic component of the Gawler Craton Airborne Survey (GCAS). These enhanced images will support the new digital, machine readable and optimised mapping being developed through SA Discovery Mapping.

November 2022

System design and data compilation for a new Digital Explanatory Notes feature in SARIG are underway. These notes will contain concise and up-to-date information about the stratigraphy, provinces and geological history of South Australia to accompany new map data.

September 2022

The system build for SADM has begun and will leverage the ArcGIS Enterprise environment capability to deliver robust data validation and automation workflows management system. The system build is the backbone of SADM and configuring it correctly will ensure the data compilation phase of the project runs smoothly.

Project resources

Digital to the Core 2021–2025. The Geological Survey of South Australia's 5 year digital strategy lays out the extensive digital focus and new initiatives being developed to support exploration. (PDF, 3.2 MB)