During the 10-year period 1986–1995, Getech undertook five gravity and five magnetic continental-scale data-compilation projects funded by the oil and mineral industries. The projects significantly improved the resolution of the gravity and magnetic fields over most of the continental land areas to provide new geophysical exploration tools of 5-minute (∼ 10-km) grids for gravity and 1-km grids for magnetic data. The databases were designed to help evaluate the regional nature and extent of sedimentary basins and how they relate to plate-tectonic processes. The five projects discussed here were challenging and involved complex negotiations with Russian and Chinese authorities as well as encouraging oil companies to sponsor and open their archives to release long-forgotten data sets into the studies. This article examines how these studies came about, how they evolved with new data-processing methods and technologies, and how the projects tend to be open-ended.

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