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09 Oct 2017 - Community by Warren Carvey

Raising GIM Awareness: Geologists share best advice

Importance of data management practices

Geoscientific data is a strategic asset to your company but only when it’s durable and easily accessible to everyone in your organisation. When the Geoscientific Information Management (GIM) discipline in an organisation is immature, your business does not get optimal value from your data. Certainly some people have experience dealing with bad data. Others may not have the same experience, but that doesn’t mean they’re having a great experience either. It’s likely they don’t even realise how good it could be with a structured approach to geoscientific information management.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Geologists throughout the mining industry have a habit of speaking candidly about the need for better awareness about GIM.

GIM senior management data assets

Advice from the field

Luc Savoie, district geologist for Canadian Natural Resources Limited, spoke about this on the GIM Channel podcast. He points out the risk of bad data when large financial decisions are being made on the back of a geologist’s interpretations of the data.

I think really you have to look at your data carefully and point out stuff that’s not correct, and start to look at what the root causes are, and show people that if we don’t catch this stuff early, there is a potential that either something’s going to happen that’s going to be nasty financially, or worst-case scenario, stuff like oil spills and health and safety issues,” Luc said.

He stresses the importance of making upper management aware of the problems associated with poor-quality data.

You have to kind of treat data as an asset, just like a pump jack, or an oil well, or a pipeline. You have to treat it like it’s an asset that has to be nurtured. You have to put money into it. You have to make sure you’re doing it [data management] well for the company to do well.”

The bottom line is we don’t hire geologists to find data. We hire them to do interpretation. We would much rather them not look or spend half their time looking for stuff. We want them to spend their full time doing quality interpretation with data they can trust.”

Common mistakes and not so common ones

Jeremy Vincent of Capstone Mining shares prime examples in episode 5 of the GIM Channel podcast.

I’ve come across instances where the database was effectively a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, and there’s lots of opportunity for mistakes to be made. No one who is managing that spreadsheet is intending to make any mistake, but there were some fairly strong ones we were able to identify – sample values from one element accidentally being substituted and placed into a column of another element. Or there were copy and paste errors.

“I’ve had a fair amount of experience, both as a consultant and in industry identifying and working with these challenges. This is where GIM software comes in, and it really makes it a lot more difficult to have those types of challenges, which is excellent,” Jeremy said.

They can lead to huge problems actually if there’s some really gross errors made, and that’s ultimately what we want to avoid. That’s exactly what we’ve been able to find so far with what I’ve been using, the GIM software or GIM applications, then the data performance and our audits always seem to go much better.

Mergers, acquisitions and innovation

Matt Hoffer, geology manager at Coeur Mining, believes the GIM Suite is vital for secure and effective data handling. That, in turn, provides confidence internally and externally in the value of the data. He shared his thoughts in episode 7 of our podcast.

“We’re in a world where there are mergers and acquisitions on a daily, weekly basis within the industry. Having a solid database and something secure like the GIM Suite makes the data validation and the due diligence process move along so much more effectively and efficiently. It provides a lot of confidence,” Matt said.

Matt believes business understands the benefit of GIM and it’s leading to bigger things in terms of innovation.

What we’re doing here with GIM is certainly supported, and it’s part of our best practice. It’s not an option for us at our operations; that’s how we manage our data. Some of the newer technologies are being reviewed and given a shot.”

How to raise the awareness of GIM

More resources companies are becoming aware that data management is essential.  If you have a proper GIM Solution, you’ll experience a competitive advantage over your competitors.

Without doubt, the first step to raising the awareness of GIM at the business level is to present information to your management, executive teams and board members in business terms. Make a solid business case for the value of good quality data. Discuss the ability for GIM to contribute to innovation. Show them how an organised GIM system can help alleviate operational disruption and assist in mergers and acquisitions.

If your company does not understand why geological data is an asset, it’s our responsibility to raise awareness about the value of GIM.

Where to find help

Getting the most out of your geoscientific data isn’t just about having the right technological tools in place; it’s about allowing your people and processes to manage your data assets as effectively as possible.

The GIM Solution by acQuire provides you with the big picture of your geoscientific data. It combines technology, processes and people to help you manage your geoscientific data across your entire enterprise. Give us a call today to find out more.

About the Author
Warren Carvey

Warren Carvey is the Regional Manager Commercial Support for North and South America. He has over 10 years’ of GIM experience working with acQuire with most of this time servicing customers in North America. More recently his focus also includes South America. Warren has a passion for helping acQuire’s customers get the most out of their GIM Solution.

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