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Mining Data From WI Well Construction Reports (for wells pre-1989)

A wealth of information exists in well construction reports (WCRs), some of which is valuable when you are looking for evidence of karst geology. The Wisconsin Geology and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) stores digital archives of all WCRs for wells created before 1989. These come in the form of PDFs, which, though generally legible and full of information, are hard to use for any large scale analysis.

In order to pull relevant information from these reports (of which there are 1,136 in Crawford County) we set up an interface through which volunteers were able to view each image and easily enter certain pieces of information gleaned from the document. We spent a lot of time working with the Crawford Stewardship Project to discern which specific information should be gathered, knowing that there was a fine balance to strike between asking too much of the volunteers, and getting too little information.

After our first 2 hours of effort, we pulled data from 886 of the 1,136 (78%), leaving only 250. More folks pitched in the following day to finish everything up. You can view the full response spreadsheet here, or check out the chart below for a summary of the information we gathered (percentages are out of 1,136).

result chart