Though kriging is widely used as the preferred method for constructing gridded water level datasets suitable for contouring, residuals arising from using the most common (linear) drift to krige water levels in the vicinity of extraction wells often indicate large local departures from the linear drift, which correlate with areas of drawdown. These are evident in plan view and cross-section.

Using linear-log kriging, ground water levels measured in the vicinity of pumping wells are kriged using a regional-linear and point-logarithmic drift, the latter derived from the Thiem equation. Hence, the combined regional-linear and point-logarithmic drift accounts for drawdowns (or mounding, in the case of injection wells) using a logarithmic approximation for the curvature of the potentiometric surface. Since the drift model approximates the principal physical processes that govern ground water flow and govern the auto-correlation of ground water elevation data, this approach produces maps of contoured water levels that more realistically represent physical conditions and that allow for improved interpretation of measured water-level data. Additional benefits include an improved estimate of the background hydraulic gradient and generation of an grid suitable for two-dimensional particle tracking.