Topographic and Hydrographic GIS Datasets for the Afghanistan Geological Survey and U.S. Geological Survey 2014 Mineral Areas of Interest

Open-File Report 2015-1181
Prepared in cooperation with the Afghanistan Geological Survey under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations
By: , and 



Mineral extraction and associated industries play an important role in the Afghan economy, particularly in the “transitional era” of declining foreign aid and withdrawal of foreign troops post 2014. In addition to providing a substantial source of government revenue, other potential benefits of natural resource development include boosted exports, employment opportunities, and strengthened industrialization (Joya, 2012). Continued exploration and investment in these industries has resulted in large economic improvements since 2007, when this series of studies was initiated. At that time, the “Preliminary Non-Fuel Mineral Resource Assessment of Afghanistan” was completed by members of the U.S. Geological Survey and Afghanistan Geological Survey (Peters and others, 2007). The assessment published a series of country-wide datasets, including a digital elevation model (DEM), elevation contours, hydrography, transportation routes, geophysics, and cultural datasets (Peters and others, 2007). It also delineated 20 mineralized areas for further study using a geologic-based methodology. A second data product, “Summaries of Important Areas for Mineral Investment and Production Opportunities of Nonfuel Minerals in Afghanistan,” was released by Peters and others in 2011. This work highlighted geologic, geohydrologic, and hyperspectral studies that were carried out in specific Areas of Interest (AOIs) to assess the location and characteristics of mineral resources. Also included in the 2011 publication is a collection of appendixes and inventories of Geographic Information System (GIS) datasets for each of the 24 identified AOIs. A third data product was released in 2013 (Casey and Chirico, 2013), publishing datasets for five different AOIs, two subareas, and one AOI extension. Each dataset contains vector shapefiles of the AOI boundary, streams, roads, and contours at 25-, 50-, and 100-meter (m) intervals, as well as raster files of the AOI’s DEM and hillshade.

This work represents the fourth installment of the series, and publishes a dataset of eight new AOIs and one subarea within Afghanistan. These areas include Dasht-e-Nawar, Farah, North Ghazni, South Ghazni, Chakhansur, Godzareh East, Godzareh West, and Namaksar-e-Herat AOIs and the Central Bamyan subarea of the South Bamyan AOI (datasets for South Bamyan were published previously in Casey and Chirico, 2013). For each AOI and subarea, this dataset collection consists of the areal extent boundaries, elevation contours at 25-, 50-, and 100-m intervals, and an enhanced DEM. Hydrographic datasets covering the extent of four AOIs and one subarea are also included in the collection. The resulting raster and vector layers are intended for use by government agencies, developmental organizations, and private companies in Afghanistan to support mineral assessments, monitoring, management, and investment.

Suggested Citation

DeWitt, J.D., Chirico, P.G., and Malpeli, K.C., 2015, Topographic and hydrographic GIS datasets for the Afghanistan Geological Survey and U.S. Geological Survey 2014 mineral areas of interest: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015−1181, 27 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction to 2014 Mineral Areas of Interest
  • Study Area
  • Background: Playas in the Afghanistan Region
  • Methodology
  • Dataset Organization
  • Results
  • Summary
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Topographic and Hydrographic GIS Datasets for the Afghanistan Geological Survey and U.S. Geological Survey 2014 Mineral Areas of Interest
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1181
Subseries USGS Afghanistan Project Product No. 336
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151181
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description Report: iii, 23 p.; Metadata
Country Afghanistan
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details