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AZGS Economic Impact Survey – Update

During the Spring 2019, we worked with a small team of graduate students from the University of Arizona's Eller School of Management to assess the annual impact of the AZGS on the Arizona economy. A key part of this assessment was an online survey with more than 170 Arizona geoscientists, hydrologists, and environmental scientists volunteering their time to assess the value of our products and services.

The survey was developed collaboratively by the Eller team and AZGS staff, and was online for several weeks in Feb. 2019. The survey tool was complemented by interviews of 14 individuals from across the spectrum of AZGS user communities; and by evaluating stakeholder use and reliance on AZGS digital materials: online repository, mine data site, web portal, and interactive maps (e.g., Natural Hazards in Arizona).

The 30-question survey focused on i.) identifying those geologic products of greatest interest or utility to our stakeholder communities in government, mining, water resources, hazard evaluation and management, and academia; ii.) the qualitative and quantitative value placed on those products and services; and iii.) the frequency of use of AZGS products and services. The Eller team focused on cost avoidance stemming from the use of freely available AZGS geologic products on the Arizona economy between April 2018 to March 2019. 

In open-ended questions regarding AZGS products, the response were voluminous and positive. For example, question #6 asked,’ How do you use geologic / environmental information provided by AZGS?’. Seventy people responded; 9 of those responses, representing the dynamic range of responses from across the spectrum of AZGS stakeholders, are reported below. We are reviewing survey results and preparing a report to complement the Eller team work for release later this summer.

We thank all of those who completed the online survey or who sat with the Eller team in an interview session.

Responses to question #6  -  reported verbatim

  • As a municipal employee, my primary use for AZGS data has been related to geologic hazards reports and mapping in my municipality.  It has been helpful to be able to talk directly with AZGS staff members to better understand the technical implications of these conditions, and the partnership is extremely helpful when interacting with my customers.
  • Information generated by the AZGS is often the foundation for work that we do for mining, industrial, municipal, and government clients. For example, our firm does quite a bit of groundwater modeling; therefore, the AZGS maps and data become a key part in developing the models because they help us define the distribution of hydraulic properties and the locations of key features such as faults and fracture zones that can influence groundwater flow. The AZGS maps of alluvial fill along major perennial rivers is one of the key inputs to determining the legal limit of the "subflow zone", a legal construct used to distinguish surface water from groundwater.
  • I work on basin fill deposits in the Basin and Range.  AZGS mapping products and geotechnical reports are critical to my work.
  • I am an independent consultant who relies regularly on surficial geologic maps and reports available through the repository. Less frequently I use bedrock maps. This information helps provide context for archaeological investigations and helps me evaluate the potential for subsurface cultural deposits.
    I also give geology lectures to the public in which I refer participants to the Down-to-Earth series of publications.
  • I rely on the digital versions of the geologic map of Arizona and geologic quadrangles quite a bit. The continued effort of the AZGS in the generation of geologic map products is crucial because very few institutions are producing geologic maps anymore.
  • To educate policy makers & the public, planning and to protection our state's mineral endowments.
  • We use a wide variety of AZGS products at ADOT because we are interested in site specific geologic and technical information at a number of places.  Then we build from there internal geotechnical reports and memos for help with the planning, design and construction of highway infrastructure projects.
  • I run a cultural resources management company who do archaeological surveys and excavations of old mining properties for current mining companies' permitting needs. The archival data you all have is essential to trace the history of mining in Arizona. 
  • We use the information to determine the potential for geologic hazards on a particular site or infrastructure alignment.  We also use the information to assess the changes in engineering properties based on subsurface conditions.  Lastly, we use the information as a basis for our geological site reconnaissance and site mapping.

Posted 6/5/2019 by AZGS Staff