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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Chapter IX - Exploration Utilities


A: Reset Total Projects
B: Import/Export Search File
C: Import Notices from MIS System
D: Append/Delete Data
E: Parcel/Archive Functions
F: Pack/Reindex Database
G: Alter Coordinate Area
H: System Configuration


Remember that the Exploration module was created for the use of the Regional Geologists. They have the capability to import Notices of Work data to automatically create an Exploration Database. The Regional Geologists data and the Notices of Work data will not be distributed but you can create your own Exploration Database if you desire. Development of this module is still in progress and new developments will be included in future versions of MINFILE/pc.

There are a number of functions related to database and file management which are grouped together under the heading of Utilities. To access these features and functions, select Utilities from the Exploration Projects section of the Main System Menu. The screen looks like this:


Exploration Utilities menu.


Each of the 8 available utilities will be discussed in the following sections.



Reset Total Projects


This utility has already briefly been discussed in this manual (see the section entitled Between Searches, Chapter II, Section E-2). When you search the Exploration database, you will notice that the "Projects: ___" display at the bottom of your screen shows a smaller number after each search is completed (generally). This is because all the projects which do not meet your search criteria will be ignored. When you want to do a new search, you may want to include these projects. The Reset total projects utility does this.


When you select this option from the Utilities Menu, your screen will not change, it will flash or flicker once, and the message:


"Deposits have been reset! Select Utility"


will appear at the bottom left of your screen. At the same time, your "Projects: ___" display (at the bottom right corner of the screen) will revert to whatever number it showed before you began your search (your total dataset).

At this point, you are ready to use another utility, or to return to the Main System Menu to search and/or report again. If you would like to use another utility, select that option now. If you would like to search the database, press the spacebar, 'X' or 'Esc' key once, and you will return to the Main System Menu. The dataset can also be reset under the Exploration Search Menu.


B. Import/Export Search File


This utility allows you to export or import files containing limited information on projects which you have isolated using the search system. The difference between this and saving the projects as reports to file is that this choice allows you to import the group of projects back into MINFILE/pc and search or manipulate this search result again. The exported file is also a permanent file listing the projects found by your search.

Note that not all the project data is exported. Only a very small portion of the data is included in these files. This means that this is NOT the way to export or import project data (see the Parcel/Archive option). This is simply meant as a way to preserve searches and export locational information in a variety of formats.

When you select this option, you will see the following screen:


Import/Export Search File screen.


HINT: When you have exported or imported a file with this utility, you will automatically be returned to the Utilities Menu. Otherwise you can press the 'Esc' key.


1. Import Search File (Option #1)

This option allows you to import files which you previously exported. To use this function, type '1' in the Choice blank, and enter the drive, path and filename of the file you would like to retrieve. Then press 'Enter', and the file will be imported (if possible). This function defaults to the .PRJ file extension.

While the screen you see states that "drive and/or directory are optional . . .", this is true only if the file you want to load is located in the same directory (and drive) from which you started MINFILE/pc. The reason for this is that, unless you specify otherwise, MINFILE/pc will only search the directory from which it was launched. For example, if your DOS prompt when you started MINFILE/pc read "A:\>", then MINFILE/pc will look only in the root directory of drive A for your files. If the file you are looking for is stored under the "D:\SEARCH\" directory, MINFILE/pc will not find it and you will get a message that reads: "File does not exist" at the bottom left of your screen.


HINT: It is recommended that you keep track of where your saved search files are located. This way, you will be able to easily retrieve them using the Import search file command. Alternately, you could make a habit of always starting MINFILE/pc from a special directory which you have created specifically for receiving and storing data (including reports sent to file, search files, updates, and so on). If you do this, then you will only need to remember the file name, and not the directory under which it is stored as well. MINFILE/pc automatically sets up a MINFILE\WORK directory for this purpose.

When you have imported the search file, you will be returned to the Utilities Menu and the message "Imported search file: (filename) Select Utility" will appear in the lower left-hand portion of your screen. You can now search this data or generate reports.


NOTE: The number of projects in the "Projects: ___" field should equal the number of projects in your imported file.


2. Export Project No.'s File (Option #2)

This command saves a file containing a list of all the Project numbers which are currently part of your active database. If you look at a Project numbers file with a text editor, you will see a simple list of these numbers.

If your "Projects: ___" display indicates that you have 15 projects, and you use this command, a file which contains these 15 numbers will be generated. You may then retrieve this file (using the Import search file command discussed above), and continue searching from the same 15 projects or generate reports.

To use this command, enter '2' in the "Choice" blank, and then enter the (up to) 8-character name you would like to call your search file. The file (with a .PRJ extension) will be saved to whatever directory was open when you started MINFILE/pc. If you would like the file saved to a different directory, then you must specify the drive and directory.

For example, assume that you have isolated all of the projects in the 082E area which have Notices of Work of the Mineral type and would like to save this subset of projects for future reference. When you have used the search facility to isolate these projects, return to the Main System Menu (by pressing 'X' from the Exploration Search Menu) and then select Utilities from the Exploration Projects section. From here select Import/Export Search Files. If you would like a Project number file saved to the "\U\SEARCH" directory on drive D, enter '2', and then type: d:\u\search\082EMIN and press 'Enter'. The list of project numbers will be saved in a file called "082EMIN.PRJ" in the specified directory.


3. Export standard data (ASCII) file (N/A)

This option is currently not available for the Exploration database.


4. Export standard data (dBASE) file (N/A)

This option is currently not available for the Exploration database.


5. Export QUIKMap file for Projects (Option #5)

This option creates a dBASE file that is compatible with the QUIKMap application. To produce a QUIKMap file, enter '5' in the choice blank and enter the name and/or drive location for your output file.

When you press 'Enter' the relevant data for the selected projects will be extracted and put into the output file. As this is happening, the Project number and a list of the commodities being extracted are displayed at the bottom of the screen.


NOTE: See Appendix L.1 for the structure of the QUICKPRJ.DBF file, which is the template used for plotting Project data in QUIKMap.


C. Import Notices from MIS System

This option is used by the Regional Geologists to import data from the Mineral Information System (MIS). You can essentially ignore this option since the Mineral Information System data is not available. However, we have included the description of this option for user's who can think of a way to use it.

Projects and their associated Notices of Work are automatically created when importing data from the MIS system. To do this you must have a disk containing a file with the Notices of Work data (MISDATA.DBF) exported from the MIS system.

Selecting this option will lead to the following prompt for the input drive:


Which drive has new data? (A,B; X=Abort)


The function assumes that the Notices of Work data is stored on a floppy disk in a file called MISDATA.DBF.

Enter the designation of the drive where the disk containing the data resides. Pressing 'X' at this point cancels the import and returns to the previous menu. Entering the drive letter will lead to this prompt:


Ensure disk in B; press C to continue (X=Abort)


Pressing 'C' at this point will execute the import and incorporate all the Notices of Work on the disk into the database. The information imported is drawn from the original Notice of Work but the bulk of the Notice of Work information is discarded. The data included is: Project name, notice type, received date, approved date, owner, operator, manager, manager telephone, mining division, NTS map number, latitude, longitude, work to do, work start date, work end date.

When initiated, the import routine scans the Notices of Work in the MISDATA.DBF file and for each notice, creates a new Notice of Work in the Exploration database. If it finds an existing Project which matches the 7-digit District/Mine number of the Notice, it assigns the Notice to that Project. If no Project exists then a new Project with the District/Mine number of the Notice is created.


NOTE: The MISDATA.DBF file is copied to the NOTICES.DBF file in the \MINFILE\TEMP directory. See Appendix L.1 for the structure of the NOTICES.DBF file.


When the import is completed the system asks if you wish to print MISDATA.LIS which is a tracking list of the import activity. The MISDATA.LIS is also stored as a file in the \MINFILE\TEMP directory. The import activity is also stored in the Exploration Notes field for each project.

Any subsequent notices of work issued by the MIS system for an existing project may result in changes to either the project information or the notices information (e.g. Notice approval date). In this situation the import routine will update the existing project and/or notice field if it is blank in the exploration database. Any data in fields prior to the subsequent import will be considered to have been entered by the Regional Geologist and will NOT be superseded. This will require that you review Notice of Work amendments and manually transfer updates to the exploration database. It is assumed that this activity will be rarely required.


D. Append/Delete Data


This is the option you use to add Project data to your database from previously parceled data. When you select this option, the following screen will appear:


Append/Delete Project Data screen.


1. Append Data (Projects & Entities)

If you would like to add project data which has previously been parceled using MINFILE/pc, select Append data (Project & Entities) and follow the same procedure you used to append MINFILE data (Chapter V, Section E). This procedure is also one outlined in the section of this manual called Installing MINFILE Data (Chapter I, Section B-5). A file called EXPLORE.ZIP is appended, it contains the previously parceled data. The Entities or code tables (ENTITIES.ZIP) will also be replaced if the date is more recent than your system date.


NOTE: If you try to append a project that already exists in the database the entire new dataset will fail to be appended. If you wish to append the new data, you will first have to delete the project from your database. You may do this through the Delete command in the Data Entry System (Chapter V, Section E).

If, at this point, you wish to append more data, select the Append option. If not, press the 'X' or 'Esc' key, and you will return to the Exploration Utilities menu.


2. Delete Data Projects (ALL Exploration data)

This option will delete all Project data.


E. Parcel/Archive Functions


The Parcel Exploration Projects command is particularly useful for making backups of data, and for moving data from one computer to another. Data which has been parceled can be reinstalled easily by simply appending the data back into the system (using the Append/Delete Data Option).

When you parcel data and entities, you create files called "EXPLORE.ZIP" and "ENTITIES.ZIP" which can manually be copied onto a data diskette for sharing with other computers.

To parcel your data, you must first isolate the data you want (using searches). Then go to the Exploration Utilities menu and select this option. You will be presented with the following screen:


Parcel/Archive Exploration Functions.


1. Parcel Exploration Projects

Selecting the Parcel Exploration Projects option you are prompted with:


Are you sure (Y,N; X=Exit) ?


Entering a 'Y' response will initiate the parcel. The system will create ASCII copies of all the files that contain Exploration data and compress them into the single EXPLORE.ZIP file. This file will be placed in your current default directory.


2. Parcel Entities

If you select Parcel Entities, you are prompted with:


Are you sure (Y,N; X=Exit) ?


Entering a 'Y' response will initiate the parcel. The system will create ASCII copies of all the code tables and compress them into the single ENTITIES.ZIP file. This file will be placed in your current default directory.


3. Notices of Work Annual Archive

This option is used by the Regional Geologists to archive old Notices of Work data on an annual basis. The user can also use this to archive old data. Tracking Notices of Work can conveniently be done on a year by year basis, with a new set of Notices of Work being created each year, starting on January 1st. When the MIS system refers to a project it is referenced by the 7-digit District/Mine number which is a permanent designation. Therefore, Notices of Work can be cleaned out of the database on an annual basis but the permanent Project information will remain. Any new Notices of Work in the new year will then be added to the existing Project or will create new Projects if necessary.

The Notices of Work annual archive function can be run at the beginning of each year to remove all the previous year's Notices of Work from the database. Select this option and you will be presented with this screen:


Notices Archive screen.


Archive criteria is selected by filling in the fields, which are similar to the Notices Search (see Chapter VII, Section B). Once the criteria has been filled in, press PgDn and the message "xx notices selected for archive. Continue (Y,N)?" appears. Press Y and the process will complete with "Archive Complete! Notices archived in Arc1996.ZIP".

All Notices of Work are removed from the database and a series of .DBF files (e.g., 1996R34.DBF), with the year at the beginning of the filename, are created in your default directory. The files are zipped into Arc1996.ZIP. You should copy this file to a disk and set aside for archival purposes.

At this point, press the 'X' or 'Esc' key to return to the Utilities Menu.


F. Pack/Reindex Database


This utility is the "universal MINFILE/pc fixer". Many of the problems that might arise in a program like MINFILE/pc can be remedied by packing and reindexing the database. This is a fairly lengthy procedure depending on the size of the database, but can often save you frustration when trying to fix a recurring error message.

To understand the Pack/Reindex feature, it helps to understand how MINFILE/pc functions. The program was written in FoxBASE, which uses ".dbf" files. If you delete anything from MINFILE/pc, it appears to be deleted, but is in fact simply flagged for deletion. Until the database is packed, the data remain in the files and things can get a bit cluttered after you have deleted a few occurrences. Many of the searches, reports and utilities use indexes created from these .dbf files and they can sometimes get "out-of-sync" with each other when you have done lots of data manipulation. This can lead to errors in searches, reporting, and so on.

When you run the Pack/Reindex routine, MINFILE/pc goes through all of the ".dbf" files and looks for "locked out" data (previously "deleted" through MINFILE/pc). Any such data that the system finds is then removed (really removed this time) from the file, which makes the database that much smaller. The associated indexes are also regenerated to bring them up to date and into "sync" with the .dbf files.

To pack/reindex your database, simply select this option and wait for the message "Do you really want to pack the database?" to appear. Press 'y', and relax -- this procedure takes about ten minutes to complete. When the database is completely packed and reindexed, the following message will appear at the bottom of your screen: "Database successfully packed."


G. Alter Coordinate Area


The Alter Coordinate Area function in the Exploration Utilities is the same as in the MINFILE Utilities.  The screen looks like this:


Alter Coordinate Area screen.


This utility allows you to alter the latitude and longitude coordinates allowed by MINFILE/pc. These coordinates set the area in which occurrences may be entered. The Edit Check looks at the coordinates entered for each new occurrence to make sure that they fall within the coordinate area displayed on this screen.

If you wish to enter an occurrence outside the default coordinate area, you have two options: disabling the edit check or altering the coordinate area to include the new occurrence. Disabling the edit check prevents the computer from checking the occurrence coordinates, and lets you enter the occurrence in the database without altering the coordinate area. To disable the edit check, simply enter "N" in the blank field beside it. This solution is best used when you are entering occurrences outside your normal coordinate area (for example, if you usually look at occurrences in B.C., but wish to enter one or two others from Russia or South America), and do not wish to change your default coordinates.

If you will be entering most or all of your occurrences outside of the default area, you should change the coordinates to fit your needs. To do this, enter the coordinates of the extreme northeast and southwest corners of the region in which your occurrences will fall (for example, B.C. is 60 N, 140 W, and 48 N, 114 W). Once you have made your changes, choose "Submit or "Undo" in the Edit menu to save or discard them.


NOTE: The APPEND, BROWSE, DELETE, and SELECT commands in the Edit menu of this screen are not relevant to this MINFILE function. You will not be able to highlight or use them.


H. System Configuration


When you select this option, you will see the following screen:


System Configuration screen.


The operation of this screen is exactly the same as it is in the Report Menu. See the section of this manual entitled System Configuration (Chapter II, Section F-3). In order to exit this screen and return to the Utilities menu, press the 'X' or 'Esc' key.