Explorer 3

A mineral exploration Database Management System

Developed by
Terra Search
over a 10 year period

The Explorer 3 database management system, developed by Terra Search over a 10 year period, was designed by a team of experienced geologists.  Their objective was to design a structure that would elegantly and efficiently incorporate the many varieties of geochemical and geological data that are gathered during exploration and mining, and that would allow the data to be linked, interrogated, subsetted, and plotted in a GIS environment.

  • Bibliographic
  • Tenement
  • Analytical Details
  • Project Management
Data Tables
  • Stream Sediments
  • Rock Chips
  • Soils
  • Drillholes
  • High speed interrogation and subsetting of data
  • Direct exporting in standard transfer formats to analysis and plotting software
  • Data loading modules using text and spreadsheet functions for painless large scale data entry with inbuilt validation
  • Global and local coordinate systems stored with inbuilt transformations between coordinate systems and datum
  • Standardised reporting of data for project management and statutory reporting purpose
  • Validation of codes and support for multiple coding systems
  • Industrial strength database (currently holds over 3 million data points)
  • Standardisation of database structure ensures data accessibility into the future
  • Standardisation of codes allows data integration at all scales, and company-wide standardised format
  • Low cost - high efficiency system that allows geologists to concentrate on finding mines, not files
  • Standard features of a professional Windows program
A Comprehensive Relational
Database Management System
For Mineral Exploration

Designed and Developed by Terra Search Pty Ltd


The concept of digital storage and retrieval of exploration data is not new. Since the early days of computing the mining industry has recognised the potential advantages in this form of storage. The difficulty is the nature of the data. An exploration project will commence and gather large amount of data, most of which will be readily quantifiable. As the project advances and the understanding of the geology, geochemistry and geophysics of the area increases, data gathering techniques are refined and extra attributes are collected. The number of combinations of attributes that can be collected is endless. To make a data set fully integrable, a file system, or database, must be able to contain all possible attributes and attribute combinations. In many areas there exists an enormous amount of historical work, well documented and critical to the evaluation of an area, which must also be integrated. The ability to combine all this data into a single format creates a powerful tool for the discovery of new or additional mineralisation.

Terra Search has developed Explorer 3 to collected all geochemical and geological data in a standard format, for any area worldwide, while still retaining its unique qualities including all location, assay details, tenement and reporting details. This allows fast validation of data and use of this data at any scale from province to prospect.

Explorer 3 is designed to be easily used by field geologist yet has the power and structure to manage an entire company’s data set.


The storage of data is only one side of the story. For any database to be useful it must be easy to use; this includes bulk data entry and data retrieval. Users will be encouraged to enter all relevant project data to ensure every useful attribute is stored enabling the use of these attributes to their full potential by being able to compare the data to each other and to other data sets.

  • Explorer 3 is written in Visual Basic. The program uses a comprehensive data structure in Microsoft Access and SQL Server or any other ODBC compatible database.
  • Direct links to GIS software and spreadsheets will allow users the choice of working with the data in any form.
  • Exploration data will be able to be stored in a standard format globally and permanently for the first time.
  • Explorer 3 results from Terra Search‘s proven track record of 13 years of managing exploration data on a mineral province scale; our current system has over 1.7 million fully attributed geochemical samples.
  • The database will run on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows NT.
  • Development has been in collaboration with several of Australia’s major mining companies, Australian Mineral Industry Research Association (AMIRA) and Government Geological Surveys.
  • Industrial strength database structure to handle corporate datasets
  • Applicable world wide
  • High speed interrogation and sub-setting of data
  • Data loading modules using text and spreadsheet function to facilitate painless large scale data entry with integrity checking.
  • Flexible programming and advanced database design allows any exploration data to be captured within a fixed database structure.
  • Visualisation by way of direct integration with industry standard GIS and exploration packages (such as MapInfo, Arcview, Interdex, Discover, Micromine, Surpac and generic ASCII).
  • Validation of codes available to audit digital data.
  • Direct exporting to spreadsheet and word processing packages.
  • National standardised geological codes (in conjunction with AGSO) and authority tables. Able to be linked to multiple coding systems and translations.
  • All standard features of a professional Windows program.
  • Ability to use any ODBC compatible database as a back end to the system.