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09 Nov 2016 - Business Management by Chris Spooner

Three ways GIM ensures data integrity

Maintaining the integrity of your geoscientific data is essential so your team working on your mining or exploration project can make quick and reliable decisions based on accurate information.

Data integrity refers to the accuracy and consistency of stored data collected on your site from the drillhole and in the lab.

Geoscientific Information Management (GIM) helps you maintain the data and derive answers from it in three ways: by storing the original observations and measurements, by validating the data as it is entered and by giving the right access to the right people in the organisation.

data integrity

1. Storing original observations and measurements

Data corruption often occurs when inputting or extracting the data into and out of the database.  One of the approaches good drilling software takes to prevent this, is to store the original measurements from the field along with contextual information or metadata. This can include the unit of measure, the instrument used, the instrument accuracy, and the date recorded. Your geoscientific data is meaningless without this.

If undergoing an audit, this approach allows you to go back, look at an original lab file, for example, and compare this to the stored record. You can immediately verify your data is right.

One issue that can compromise modelling accuracy is the conversion of units that may affect rounding and precision further downstream in your process, or in worse cases produce erroneous data. By storing the original information you can reduce the risk of this error occurring.

Having standard transformations is another powerful way of ensuring data integrity. Making the database intelligent in this way means database managers use the same central, transformation algorithm every time, preventing people trying to work out their own which can cause inconsistent results.

2. Validation

One key to ensuring you maintain integrity is starting with clean, validated data. Reliable and quality GIM software should set rules that force staff to follow a process, producing a complete, standardised data set consistently.

The software should easily work in conjunction with in-field electronic data capture so staff can follow a standard process. Validating your data at point of capture reduces your risk of introducing “dirty” data into your database.

Validation in the field helps to enforce mandatory values, for example, recording hole coordinates and ensuring identifiers meet the company standard. Being able to take error checking and validation intelligence out into the field can save time and money on rework and potential data re-collection.

Mechanisms such as pick lists in the software reduce the risk of miscoding and smarts like spatial validation based on GPS ensure sampling isn’t being conducted outside tenement boundaries.

Validation also provides consistency by flagging data outside normal limits. In this case it can still be recorded, but operators are alerted and can check their instruments and the process.

3. General security and protection

Database security and permission sets allow only those who should be accessing the database to see relevant information. For example, you can protect parts of the database so that the geochemist can only edit the geochemistry data and not touch the geology data.

Security can also be used to limit visibility for third parties, such as joint-venture partners, who are only permitted to see certain projects in your system.

Change tracking is also a powerful security feature that shows a history of who edited each record and rollback is possible to previous versions of the data. Not only does this allow you to avoid unintended changes, but it allows you to see where training may be required, or where a process is not working.

GIM software for data integrity

Good quality GIM software is one tool which can help your operation maintain data integrity.

Software, such as acQuire’s GIM Suite, allows companies to formalise their information management processes which is a powerful way of ensuring quality, making a process rigorous and transparent and allowing you to track what is done to uphold the integrity of your data.

The GIM Suite provides a single source of truth for your data so everyone in your organisation, from geologists through to executive management, can access the same information and be assured of its quality. It provides a secure way to manage your data across an entire enterprise.

If you want to ensure you’re maintaining data integrity in your operation, have a look at acQuire’s GIM Suite 2 or get in touch today.

About the Author
Chris Spooner

Chris is a Technical Research Analyst for acQuire. He has a rich background in mineral exploration, as well as geological data management in resource companies. Chris has previously led many implementations as a GDA, giving him a deep understanding of GIM, acQuire’s technology, and customers.

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