Updating the BC MINFILE database

The British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS) maintains MINFILE, an inventory of the 13,000 known mineral occurrences in BC. The database summarizes findings from assessment reports, publications, press releases, archived or historical documents, and other materials. It's a vital resource. For many geologists in BC, faced with a new prospect, their first question would be: "What does MINFILE say?"

Unfortunately, MINFILE's funding hasn't kept up with the pace of mineral exploration. In 2012, the province of BC recognized that improving the MINFILE is an important step toward reducing the backlog of mining and permitting that challenged the province. Relieving this burden is viewed as an important step in stimulating the province's economic growth.

How we helped

In 2012, the BCGS partnered with Purple Rock for assistance in clearing this backlog of outdated MINFILE information. We used our expertise in the BC Property File database to locate hundreds of new mineral occurrences that were not documented, and update hundreds of occurrence with new data.

Meteorite rock representing BC MINFILE

Creating Yukon's online Property File database

The Yukon Geological Survey (YGS) had two large storage rooms full of archived mineral exploration data: reports, maps, and records from the Faro mine, which was one of the world's largest lead-zinc producers. All of these one-of-a-kind documents, representing millions of dollars of geological research, would be at risk if anything went wrong. The information wasn't being used. And keeping all of those files warm and dry in the land of the midnight sun doesn't come cheap.

How we helped

Beginning in 2010, YGS and Purple Rock partnered to develop the YGS's archives into a Yukon Property File collection. As of early 2013, Purple Rock has reviewed most of the collection, drastically reduced duplication and redundancy, and created digital versions of 17,000 documents. Purple Rock also created a metadata index for the YGS. The YGS has now integrated most of this information into their amazing database search tool. If you're interested have a look at some of our work on the Faro mine documents.

Yukon Geological Survey logo

Organizing the Northwest Territories Geological Survey collections

The Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) had an extensive collection of paper archives, some of which had been scanned already to varying standards and some of which was only available in paper.

How we helped

We organized the NTGS digital and paper archives into a single inventory and database. We deduplicated and consolidated a collection of almost 45,000 digital files into 20,000 files and 5,000 new files; improved OCR quality; performed data recovery and damaged file repair.

Creating BC's Property File database

Similar to the Yukon's Property File, the BC Geological Survey also maintains a Property File collection of valuable archived data that they wanted to make available to the general public. The collection contains an estimated 100,000; as of 2018, most are now available online.

How we helped

Purple Rock is the project manager in this multi-year project, coordinating the scanning contractors and software consultants that BCGS also appointed for the project. Purple Rock keeps the project on-track, performs geological data review, metadata capture and georeferencing.

BC Property File logo


The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) maintains GeoRef, an ambitious database that aims to track bibliographic information for all geoscience research ("white" and "grey" literature). The database began in 1966 and grows by more than 100,000 references a year. In all, it contains 3.4 million references.

Recognizing that many Canadian geoscientists only need access to the Canadian subset of GeoRef, AGI created CanGeoRef, a database subscription specifically for Canadians.

How we helped

Purple Rock and the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences are working with AGI to populate the CanGeoRef database with additional information, especially provincial/territorial government publications that may not yet be in GeoRef. We put our expert software development and database creation skills to work, automating data conversion from every province's distinct database to the GeoRef format. In the process, Purple Rock developed internal software to assist with managing the project.

GeoRef logo