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There is controversy when it comes to data contouring and most of the time one is left wondering “what is my best option?” In this module we discuss the relative benefits of having an interpreter contour “by hand” vs. letting a computer control the contouring of random data points. In order for the computer to contour a surface containing the data points, an optimum grid interval must be specified. Techniques to determine the best grid spacing for contouring the data points are discussed in Module #15 Grid Spacing. The computer-contouring results are fast, but even if the grid spacing and gridding method selected are well-chosen, the resulting contours may depict false structures, gradients, and trends. Hand-contouring is most definitely slower, but results are as accurate as the data points allow and as geologically meaningful as the interpreter’s experienced eye permits.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this module, you’ll be able to:

  • Have a good understanding of the hand vs. computer-contouring mechanics
  • Have a working knowledge why good contouring skills will result in the best interpreted basement map

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