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Three-dimensional mapping for groundwater applications at the Geological Survey of Canada: 2011-2013 developments

The Geological Survey of Canada is the federal geological survey charged with mapping the geology of Canada (Resources and Technical Surveys Act) in collaboration with provincial agencies. In the past ten years a number of national workshops (e.g. Rivera et al., 2003), national reviews
(Council of Canadian Academies, 2009), and intergovernmental agreements have shaped the nature of the federal Groundwater Program. At present the focus is on completing work collaboratively with all levels of government agencies on 30 key Canadian Aquifers (Fig. 1). Much of the work completed to
date on these aquifers and on more regional issues is summarized in the book Groundwater Resources in Canada (Rivera, 2013). There has been over the course of this time the emergence of new issues that have significantly impacted the profile of groundwater work at the GSC. Notable amongst these
more recent drivers is the concept of the water-energy nexsus (e.g. Mass, 2010) and more specifically the environmental issues related to shale gas and hydrofracking (e.g. Parfitt, 2010). Related to this is the increasing concern regarding the potential environmental impacts of new petroleum
pipelines etc. (e.g action plan, 2013). There remains a need for three-dimensional geological mapping to support informed decision making in the face of widespread environmental and economic concerns. The scale, both geographically and economically, makes it clear; however, that it is essential that
3-D geological models have appropriate data support and are not simply the latest modelling iteration of low quality, low-resolution archival datasets. There is a need to view data collection and model development as key component of the national infastructure development that government agencies
commonly fund to support economic development (e.g. Duke, 2010). How to achieve sustained funding for such activities was the focus of a recent workshop and working paper from the Program on Water Issues (POWIS), Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto (Sturzik, 2013). It is also
essential that new data and map ¿ model products be delivered to a broad user base, for this reason there is significant interest in data collection standards and online data delivery (e.g. Boisvert and Broderic, 2011).

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