Log drafting

Is your project being delayed because the boring logs are not done yet? Does the person logging the borings draft their own logs or do you have a drafting person? How many days after drilling pass before the boring logs are done? If you manage a team of field staff, how consistent are the logs from person to person?

This section describes how log drafting has historically evolved to current industry practices. To learn about GroundLogs log drafting services, go to Drafting service.

As a geoconsultant involved in site investigations, you either draft your own boring logs or a drafting person or one of your colleagues familiar with boring log software drafts the logs for you. In either case, you understand the challenges with preparing boring logs quickly, consistently, and cost-effectively, while maintaining company and other standards.

Before personal computers and boring log software, boring log preparation was an administrative activity, performed by non-technical personnel filling out standard forms. You may have seen such “historical” logs during background research for projects. These logs may contain useful data, but the data must first be digitized for further use in modern subsurface modeling tools. Digitization of historical logs can be a time-consuming process but, unlike field logs, these logs are usually typewritten and legible. Unfortunately, if there are questions about the information on the log, it is not possible to ask the person who logged the boring or prepared the log.

The introduction of personal computers and boring log software resulted in the current diversity of log drafting practices observed in the geoconsulting industry. Some firms use specialty boring log software for drafting logs and train staff professionals to use this software. This software may facilitate creation of geological cross sections from logs created with the same software. Other firms use design or graphical software for drafting logs and geological cross sections, and assign these tasks to drafting personnel. Lastly, other firms have adapted office suite software for log drafting purposes, or simply clean up their field logs and include those in reports, where acceptable.

Peer review of field logs and editing of drafted logs are integral parts of the log drafting process. Where drafting personnel draft logs, peers will often review and redline their colleagues’ field logs before submitting the logs for drafting. This process helps: 1) uphold company technical standards regarding data presentation on logs, and 2) reduce drafting iterations. Where staff professionals draft logs using specialty boring log software or office suite software, the professional is responsible for upholding company standards. Professionals are familiar with their own handwritten field logs and can review their work during while drafting their logs. Two limitations of using staff professionals for drafting logs are: 1) the professionals are primarily utilized for fieldwork assignments and log drafting is often done around these assignments, and 2) peer review of logs is left to senior report reviewers.

Most of the geoconsulting industry currently logs soil borings on paper and manually transfers field data to boring log or other software. What steps can be taken to improve the current practice of drafting logs (besides the obvious one of electronic field data collection)? Our experience indicates numerous opportunities:

  • Designing better field log forms, to ensure more complete and efficient field data capture. If possible, the forms should be designed in a way to make it easier to transfer field data to the software used for drafting logs.
  • Peer review of field logs for legibility, accuracy, completeness, and adherence to company and industry standards, before the logs are submitted for drafting. This process reduces drafting iterations and reliance upon report reviewers to enforce company standards later in the process.
  • Log drafting by personnel dedicated to drafting or data entry, and skilled in the use of the appropriate software. If field logs have not been peer reviewed prior to log drafting, then drafting personnel with the appropriate skills and training can perform the peer review process.

Click here to learn about GroundLogs log drafting services.