Data Sets

GIS data

Graphic of GIS layers (Credit: USGS)We have made our collection of digital datasets derived from published maps (original presentation scale: 1:100,000) available for download. Each dataset includes GIS data, metadata, and a georeferenced image of the map. We have also updated many of our GIS files to the GeMS standard (with more GeMS updates to come). PDF files of the map(s) and any accompanying reports are available for separate download.

All GIS data files   GeMS GIS data files

Rock properties—porosity and density

Diagram showing relatively large pore spaces between mineral grains of sandstone.Porosity and density of rocks explained. Includes equations and distribution data for dolomite, shale, and sandstone from Wisconsin’s aquifers and aquitards.

Rock properties


Portion of a Quaternary core sediment sampleTillPro is primarily a database of grain-size analyses performed on unlithified sediment samples collected from Wisconsin and analyzed in the Quaternary Laboratory at the Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison. (MS Access database)



A drill rig used to drill groundwater wells.

The wiscLITH database has been gleaned from the nearly 45,000 paper records maintained by the Survey. These records contain detailed descriptions of the rock types (including stratigraphy and lithology) encountered during well drilling. (MS Access database)



Geologic logs

The first page of a geologic log. At the top, it has information identifying the log's well and its location. Next are details about the well's drilling method, the name of who studied it, and the geologic formations it goes through. The bottom half shows the well's log as a table with geologic details for every 5 feet of the well's depth.
Sample log. (Click image to enlarge.)

Geologic logs are prepared from examination of drill cuttings (samples). Well drillers are usually required to submit drill cuttings to WGNHS for wells which are: (1) high capacity (>70 gallons per minute), such as irrigation or industrial wells, OR (2) public water supply wells, such as those for municipalities, schools, parks, or waysides.

Unfortunately, there are many wells for which WGNHS should have samples, but doesn’t. Reasons include: (1) samples not collected by well drillers, (2) samples collected but not submitted to the Survey, (3) samples sufficiently damaged after collection so as to render them useless (4) samples collected but not labeled, therefore also useless, (5) very difficult or unusual drilling conditions, which make sample collection difficult and/or samples collected meaningless.

When drill cuttings are received from the well driller, WGNHS geologists prepare geologic logs. These logs contain a detailed description of each sample. Because a sample is usually taken every 5 feet, these logs usually give much more detailed geologic information than well construction reports (WCRs). (Learn more about WCRs.)

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Other important data sets (external)