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|It is standard practice in geotechnical studies for mine design to drill a series of inclined oriented boreholes into the proposed pit walls. However, this investigation tool is often used without an adequate understanding of the inherent shortcomings in the method and the many potential sources of error. Of the more commonly used orientation methods in Australia the clay imprint technique is probably the most reliable. Contoured stereographic plots of oriented core data are frequently characterised by diverse pole distributions and low concentration maximums compared with line mapping data. Common sources of error producing these poor results are misinterpretation of orientation marks or imprints, inaccurate marking of the reference line, errors in the structural measurement of the defects, lack of continuity information and blind zones sub-parallel to the borehole direction which correction methods frequently do not fix. Line mapping is the preferred method of structural data collection due to the lower overall cost, availability of continuity information and higher accuracy. The projectability of field mapping data to final wall positions can be assessed with a good understanding of the regional geology and local structural patterns. Where field mapping is not possible due to a thick regolith cover, core orientation should be carried out by experienced personnel to minimise the many potential errors.A series of case studies are presented which compare oriented core with mapping and highlight the inherent problems with the technique.|