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A three-dimensional geological model of Canada, ruminations on the needs, challenges and practicalities

Three dimensional cognitive visualization of geological mapping has historically only been possible for the experienced geological interpreter. The advent of powerful computer graphics and visualization software now provides a platform for the widespread development of 3-D geological
models. Such models are commonly available for local studies in undeformed sedimentary basins and in complex structural settings of mining camps. There is a broader need for regional geological models to underpin modern infrastructure development (e.g. energy, mining, groundwater, urbanization,
seismic zonation), as is recognized and implemented by a number of European countries (e.g. Britain, Netherlands). This submission reviews challenges present in the development of a 3-D model for the full landmass of Canada, including: a hierarchical approach to the parsing and codification of the
diverse geology of Canada, data sources (geophysical, lithological, structural, stratigraphic, geochemical, etc.) and formats (e.g. point, line, polygon, continuous), and the need for a coordinated data management scheme. It also considers differences in modelling approaches required for a variety
of geological terrains (e.g. sedimentary basins, metamorphic and plutonic, orogenic belts, surficial sediment) with varying types and abundance of data support. Surface mapping of Canada has advanced in an iterative fashion as regional compilations are upgraded upon the completion of detailed
studies, and a similar iterative process is required for 3-D modelling. Three-dimensional modelling is already under way in numerous jurisdictions, where older stratigraphic databases, structural maps, etc. are captured and regenerated using machine based interpolative algorithims and 3-D
visualization systems. There is a need for a broader collaboration and dialogue to optimize scarce human resource expertise and funding support to ensure continued advancement. There is no single data set, nor interpretative and interpolative approach, to 3-D model development, and broad discussion
and collaboration is the surest way to make progress.

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The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
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Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.