Course Instructor
Andrew McIntosh, GISP
Tel: 604 424 4782
LinkedIn Profile

  GIS and 3D Modeling Courses for Mineral Exploration
  McElhanney offers hands-on and online training to help mining industry personnel understand and use GIS in their daily activities. See below for our current courses and for how to sign up for a course.

Click for Client Testimonials

Current Course Offerings.

MapInfo with Datamine Discover - Mineral Exploration Module 1 (2 days)

MapInfo with Datamine Discover - Mineral Exploration Module 2 (1 day)

Datamine Discover3D - 3D Modeling for Mineral Exploration (2 days)

GraphMap - Introduction to Graphical Analysis Using Datamine Discover (1 day)

In-house and on-line training is available on request. Contact us to request training at your location or to enquire about an on-line session.

Past Courses

MapInfo-Discover for Mineral Exploration Module 1 (2 days)

MapInfo-Discover for Mineral Exploration Module 2 (1 day)

MapInfo-Discover3D - 3D Modeling for Mineral Exploration (2 days)

GraphMap - Introduction to Graphical Analysis Using MapInfo-Discover (1 day)


GraphMap - Introduction to Graphical Analysis Using Datamine-Discover

February 1, 2019 - Vancouver, BC



October 30, 2018 - Vancouver, BC



MapInfo with Datamine Discover - Mineral Exploration Module 1

January 21-22, 2019 - Vancouver, BC



October 15-16, 2018 - Vancouver, BC



March 26-27, 2018 - Vancouver, BC



MapInfo with Datamine Discover - Mineral Exploration Module 2

January 23, 2019 - Vancouver, BC



October 17, 2018 - Vancouver, BC



March 28, 2018 - Vancouver, BC



Datamine Discover3D - 3D Modeling for Mineral Exploration

January 24-25, 2019 - Vancouver, BC



October 18-19, 2018 - Vancouver, BC



April 3-4, 2018 - Vancouver, BC



Course Descriptions and Examples

MapInfo with Datamine-Discover - Mineral Exploration Module 1 (2 days)

This course covers introductory to intermediate level Discover topics. The goal of this 2-day course is to familiarize new users in the geoscience field with the various functions of MapInfo-Discover, and the background geomatics/GIS concepts that all GIS users should have. Students will complete a regional-scale GIS compilation project with real mineral exploration data. Project planning issues and common pitfalls are discussed throughout the course. Exercise books and course data are provided by McElhanney. The course is taught using Datamine-Discover (formerly MapInfo-Discover), version 2017. Each attendee requires their own laptop and a copy of Datamine Discover 2017. Free evaluation licenses can be provided but these must be requested and installed before coming to class. Students must be familiar and very comfortable with the basic functions of MS Windows. Previous MapInfo-Discover experience is not required. Publicly available, real mineral exploration data is used for all exercises.

Why is the Module 1 course important for people who have already used MapInfo-Discover before?

Many people who have used MapInfo-Discover for a while or are perhaps self taught, or taught by a coworker, make the assumption that taking the introductory course is unnecessary. Why is the Module 1 course important? Learning to use GIS and 3D Modeling software involves far more than learning which buttons to click to make products you want. A prerequisite to using any GIS, drillhole or Modeling software is an understanding of a number of important geomatics and spatial data concepts. These concepts are taught to surveying students and formally trained GIS professionals but they are rarely taught to geologists or exploration technicians. A list of common and potentially expensive errors includes: plotting/modeling samples, geophysical data, drillholes etc. in incorrect locations; planning drillholes based on incorrectly located targets; storing the wrong kind of azimuth or elevation values in drillhole tables. (A potentially serious but common error). Do you know the difference between UTM north and true north where you are drilling? Have multiple elevation datums been used in surveys over the years? In addition to many time saving procedures and tools users may not have seen before, the things you need to know to identify and/or avoid these errors are introduced in the Module 1 course. As a mapping, surveying and engineering firm, we could not leave them out.

Click here for Sample Course Notes

Course Outline

  • Learning the basics of tables, workspaces and the Discover interface.
  • Discussion: Project folder and file organization. Avoiding problems with workspace files. Tools for fixing workspaces
  • Map Window Layers: Using the layer control to make selections, link map windows, manipulate layers, labels and feature display settings.
  • Discussion: Geomatics concepts crucial for GIS users: Coordinate system issues, consequences of projection and datum errors, avoiding costly mistakes.
  • Graphical Selection: Different methods of graphically selecting, displaying and saving selections from a map window.
  • Creating New Tables and Basic Digitizing Skills: Table design issues, data storage, planning a digitizing session and basic drawing tool skills.
  • Data Entry Techniques: Tools for increasing efficiency in data entry and data validation. Updating tables with formulae and expressions.
  • Discussion. Map scales, positional error and digitizing accuracy. Choosing appropriate base-map and elevation data for your own projects.
  • Using Imagery: Using satellite images, scanned maps, orthophotos and other imagery. Image rectification and reprojection.
  • Importing and using geotagged photos.
  • Importing and Exporting Vector Data: Working with GPS data, CAD files, shapefiles, etc.).
  • Point Data: Designing MS Excel spreadsheets for use in database programs. Displaying sample locations and other coordinate data stored in MS Excel spreadsheets and Access database files.
  • Queries: Searching data, creating database-generated map layers, separating data for analyses.
  • Discussions: Grouping - Compiling data while building in the ability to analyse it separately later. This is GIS, not CAD - understand the difference.
  • Thematic Maps: Creating database-generated symbology. Effectively display of geochemistry and other data. Communicating effectively through maps
  • Map Design and Plotting: Scaled Map Output and the Layout Window, elements of proper map design, map legends. Creating layered and geospatial PDF files.

MapInfo with Datamine Discover - Mineral Exploration - Module 2 (1 day)

This course covers intermediate to advanced level Discover topics. The course gives attendees an extensive introduction to working with drillhole data in the 2D environment. Attendees will complete a drillhole data project, starting with the basics of data table design, and finishing with plan views, cross-sections and section interpretation layers ready for exporting to Discover3D. Exercises dealing with geophysical, surface geochemical, geological and survey data will also be taught. Students taking this course will be well prepared for the Discover3D course. The course is taught using Datamine Discover 2017. Each attendee requires their own laptop and a copy of Datamine Discover 2017. Free evaluation licenses can be provided but these must be requested and installed before coming to class. Attendees should be familiar with all concepts and procedures discussed in the course Datamine Discover - Mineral Exploration Module 1.

Click here for Sample Course Notes

Course Outline

  • Picklists and legend files: Developing and using reference lists for standardized colours, patterns and symbols.
  • Overview of Discover Drillhole Module features
  • Designing drillhole data tables. What is a relational database? Drillhole project setup
  • Discussion: Core logging is part of the database building process. Is your method of recording information limiting how you can use your data?
  • Discussion: The check-list for drillhole positional data.
  • Updating database tables with new data.
  • Database Validation: Identifying and fixing common drillhole database errors. checking for sample overlaps, gaps in data, survey data errors etc.
  • Creating and Managing Cross-Sections and Plan Views.
  • Exporting and Backing-up Drillhole Projects
  • Gridding and Contouring: Grid and contour generation, reprojection.
  • Discussion: The dangers of "push-button" gridding: Artefacts of the gridding process, computer-generated anomalies, projecting values into areas with no samples.
  • Importing and Working with Geosoft grid files.
  • Deriving elevation data from a digital elevation model (DEM). Using a DEM to prepare 2D data for 3D display. Use a LiDAR DEM and the GraphMap module to identify drillhole elevation data issues.
  • Geochemistry data: Generating summary statistics.
  • The Data Classification tool: A thematic mapping tool designed for geologists.

  • Additional material included in the course booklet
  • Creating a Custom Coordinate System (Relating a local property grid coordinate system to UTM).
  • SQL Queries: Linking MapInfo map objects to a MS Access table. Summarizing data within single tables (E.g., display the top lithology in all drillholes). Avoide the creation of duplicate records when updating tables.
  • Coordinate System Transformations: Incorporating vector data, e.g. CAD files, in "unknown" coordinate systems.
  • Digitizing a Complex Geological Map (for MapInfo-Discover 2015 32-bit): Reducing the amount of digitizing work required. Generating unit-polygons from contacts. Automated and semi-automated data entry.
  • Structural Data: Generating structural symbols for mapped features. Creating map symbols from dip and dip-direction information. Why is dip/dip-direction better than strike/dip?
  • Working with large numbers of text objects. Formatting text for scaled map plotting.
  • Creating Google Earth files

Datamine Discover3D - 3D Modeling for Mineral Exploration (2 days)

Learn how 3D modeling can help you make better-informed decisions in all stages of the mineral exploration process. From grass-roots to advanced drilling projects, 3D modeling is rapidly replacing traditional 2D sections and plan views as the modern tool for exploration planning, simultaneously displaying surface and subsurface data, communicating exploration ideas and for investor presentations. This two-day MapInfo-Discover3D course focuses on exploration planning, targeting and data presentation using integrated drilling, geophysical, geochemical and imagery data. The MapInfo-Discover3D course is an advanced level course - attendees must have prior experience with, and a good working knowledge of both MapInfo-Discover. It is strongly recommended that attendees take the MapInfo-Discover Modules 1 and 2 courses prior to attending the MapInfo-Discover3D course.
Each attendee requires their own laptop and a copy of MapInfo-Discover3D 2016. Free evaluation licenses can be provided but these must be requested and installed before coming to class.

Click here for Sample Course Notes

Course Outline

  • Exploring the Discover3D Interface
  • 3D Navigation: flying, rotating, panning and zooming.
  • 3D Cursor Plane
  • Orthographic view - A crucial tool and concept in visualizing spatial relationships in 3D.
  • Discussion: 3D geomatics and spatial data accuracy issues. Reprojecting 3D files. The consequences of using multiple elevation datums - an issue that cannot be ignored.
  • Clipping for sectional and down-plunge viewing
  • Saving 3D session (project) files
  • Preparing 2D data for 3D display
  • Viewing draped surface imagery
  • 3D point and line data. Incorporating soil data into the 3D model.
  • Vector data display (DXF files, mine workings, geological solids, etc.)
  • Gridded data display (DEM files, geochem and geophysics)
  • Block (Voxel) model display and querying. Display slices and grade shells etc.
  • Drillhole Display. Query lithology and set threshold grade values.
  • Exporting 3D slices to 2D sections.
  • 3D digitizing and object editing. Points, lines, polygons, polyhedral faces and solids with volumes.
  • Geological Modeling  - solid generation and fault surface creation.
  • Determining dip/dip direction, plunge, true thickness and projected sub-surface feature locations.
  • Modeling the intersection of geological features (e.g., structure and stratigraphy) for determining plunge orientation.
  • Drillhole planning.
  • 3D videos and animations: Communicating ideas effectively for intuitive presentations.

GraphMap - Introduction to Graphical Analysis Using Datamine Discover (1 Day)

Put your geochemistry data to work using simple empirical procedures. This one-day course includes a series of hands-on, case-study based exercises designed to introduce geologists to Discover's GraphMap module and the basics of graphical analysis. GraphMap is included with all Discover licenses. Practical examples involve surface geochemistry, drillhole geochemistry and drillhole survey data. The course may prove particularly useful to geologists wishing to use down-hole geochemistry data for geological Modeling, as an aid to re-logging core and for the re-coding of lithologies in existing drillhole databases.

Graphs provide visual summaries of quantitative data that may very quickly reveal information such as trends and relationships that are not apparent when viewing tables of numbers, maps or drillhole displays relying on subjective data such as rock codes. Rather than relying on the interpretation of the numerical results of statistical calculations, graphical analysis relies on spatial pattern recognition and the linking of graph selections, colours and symbols with 2D and 3D spatial plots. Combined with the 2D and 3D data display capabilities of Discover and Discover3D, GraphMap can be an extremely powerful tool for the development and testing of hypotheses involving geochemistry data.

The course does not teach geochemistry or statistics. Though geochemistry and statistical concepts are discussed throughout the course, attendees require a working knowledge of geochemistry and a working knowledge of simple statistical concepts such as mean, median, standard deviation, percentiles, population, and dispersion. A good working knowledge of Windows and Datamine Discover is mandatory.

Each attendee requires their own laptop computer and a copy of Datamine-Discover 2017. Free evaluation licenses can be provided to those without the required software. Evaluation licenses must be requested in advance and installed before the course date.

Click here for Sample Course Notes
Recommended Prerequisites:
MapInfo-Discover for Mineral Exploration Module 1
MapInfo-Discover for Mineral Exploration Module 2

Contact us for course dates or to schedule a session.

Course Outline

  • Preparing data for graphical analysis grouping or separating data based on analytical method, background geology etc.
  • Attributing surface samples according to underlying geology
  • Merging drillhole geochemistry data with logged codes
  • Data preconditioning avoid skewing graphs and statistics
  • Create scatter plots, scatter matrices, probability plots and histograms
  • Create separate graphs according to underlying geology, downhole rock codes etc.
  • Create a new database column based on a custom formula (multi-element ratios, normalized values etc.)
  • Apply colour, size, symbol and selective sample-visibility settings to graphs
  • View graph selections and symbols on a 3D sample location plot of drillhole data
  • Use graph selections to update source data tables in MapInfo
  • Use graphs, queries and drill-core observations for developing and testing hypotheses
  • Save and open GraphMap workspace files
  • Create a new graph based on a query or previous graph selection
  • View selection statistics
  • Create a graph legend
  • Exporting modified tables
  • Output for presentations, map display, section and model updates
  • Subjective methods of categorizing geochemical samples based on graph selections
  • Case-Study Exercise Delineating Stratigraphy with Drillhole Geochemistry Data A Faster Alternative to Re-logging Core
  • Case-Study Exercise Using a Digital Elevation Model to Identify Elevation Issues in Drillhole Data

All courses run from 8:20am until 4:30pm. Please contact us for exact course dates, prices and location, or click on the appropriate course listing at the top of this page.

Client Testimonials

Heather Campbell - "Andrew was an excellent instructor for MapInfo, Discover and Discover 3D as well as general GIS concepts. He covered the technical aspects of the program and more importantly, explained the reasoning behind the basis of GIS concepts. Andrew complimented his teaching sessions with real-life practical examples and explained the issues that can be encountered with improper data handling, datum mix-ups and reliance on black box computing. Andrew's dedication to data integrity and excellence in GIS techniques are formidable: I would highly recommend hiring him for consulting and training in any geological environment."

Heather Campbell, M.Sc., P.Geo.
Project Geologist
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Rod Churchill - "McElhanney delivered a couple of training sessions of MapInfo Discover's drillhole module remotely to myself and two staff geologists. Delivery of the training worked quite well and it is obvious that our teacher Andrew is well versed in the subject matter and a very capable teacher. The approach to the training using hands-on techniques was very conducive to the learning process and the training was never rushed giving ample time for discussion and to answer questions. MapInfo Discover is a very important tool which aids in exploration data interpretation in a very efficient manner. I am certain we will avail of McElhanney again in the near future to explore other modules within MapInfo Discover.

Rod Churchill, P.Geo., FGC
Lands & Operations Manager
Altius Resources Inc.

Kory Dumas - "I have attended courses led by Andrew on both the 2D MapInfo-Discover package as well as Discover 3D and his teaching style and knowledge of the software have helped immensely. Andrew's accessibility upon completion of the courses has been extremely helpful; his quick answers to emailed questions have been invaluable in navigating the MapInfo-Discover software environment."

Kory Dumas, Senior Geologist
Chalice Gold Mines Ltd.

Gerry Carlson - "I have taken several MapInfo-Discover courses from McElhanney and I find them very well tailored to my needs for mineral exploration data manipulation and map making. The course materials are clear and provide excellent ongoing reference material. Andrew is always willing to respond to follow-up questions. I can't imagine effectively using MapInfo without these courses."

Gerry Carlson, P.Eng.
President, Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd.

Colin Burge - "Over the years I have found the Mapinfo/Discover courses given by McElhanney invaluable. I personally attend on a regular basis to keep my skills up to date and we have sent all of our junior geologists to not only improve their digital mapping skills but to get a basic understanding of GIS. The first challenge on any project is establishing and communicating a map co-ordinate system critical to getting drill holes where they are supposed to be in the field. McElhanney's extensive land surveying experience is drawn on to give students an understanding of basic GIS and the terrible pitfalls of erroneous GIS data. Students learn how to store and query their data right up to 3D Modeling and geochemical analysis. New methods are taught, such as the use of GraphMap where graphical analysis is linked to the 3D visualization of geochemical data. I strongly recommend these Mapinfo/Discover courses for all geoscientists involved in data presentation. In addition, I have found Andrew and McElhanney to have provided us with excellent continued support when questions arise."

Colin Burge P.Geo.
Regional Exploration Manager for Central America
and Geology Manager for Cobre Panama Project
Inmet Mining Corporation

Melissa Anderson - "Andrew is a knowledgeable geologist, as well as a fantastic teacher. His knowledge of GIS and 3D Modeling is seemingly limitless. He puts his full dedication towards any task before him, and his enthusiasm for geology made working with him very enjoyable. I recommend Andrew wholeheartedly.."

Melissa Anderson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor - University of Toronto

Martin Nunez - "The McElhanney MapInfo-Discover courses are an excellent introduction to desktop mapping and the powerful analytical tools built into MapInfo. Every course is well-paced and filled with real-world examples, and the course manuals are an invaluable resource that I still refer to years after my training. After attending the GraphMap course I applied my new skills to my project work and re-examined years' old soil geochemical data to see what I could do. Using GraphMap I was able to identify several untested anomalies, and with MapInfo-Discover I put together an effective drilling proposal that won the approval of my manager and we ultimately discovered a new region of untested mineralization. Empowering your team with the McElhanney MapInfo training courses will upgrade the quality of work done by your group and provide new insight when viewing your data. It is easy to spend fortunes on data collection in the form of Diamond Drilling and Lab assays, but with a modest investment in GIS training, you can boost your interpretations and fully realize the potential of your data to create real world value."

Martin Nunez de las Cuevas, P.Geo
Exploration Geologist
New Gold Inc.