An iterative inverse method, the sequential self-calibration method, is developed for mapping spatial distribution of a hydraulic conductivity field by conditioning on nonreactive tracer breakthrough curves. A streamline-based, semi-analytical simulator is adopted to simulate solute transport in a heterogeneous aquifer. The simulation is used as the forward modeling step. In this study, the hydraulic conductivity is assumed to be a deterministic or random variable. Within the framework of the streamline-based simulator, the efficient semi-analytical method is used to calculate sensitivity coefficients of the solute concentration with respect to the hydraulic conductivity variation. The calculated sensitivities account for spatial correlations between the solute concentration and parameters. The performance of the inverse method is assessed by two synthetic tracer tests conducted in an aquifer with a distinct spatial pattern of heterogeneity. The study results indicate that the developed iterative inverse method is able to identify and reproduce the large-scale heterogeneity pattern of the aquifer given appropriate observation wells in these synthetic cases. ?? International Association for Mathematical Geology 2008.