Pumping tests are one of the most commonly used in situ testing techniques for assessing aquifer hydraulic properties. Numerous researches have been conducted to predict the effects of aquifer heterogeneity on the groundwater levels during pumping tests. The objectives of the present work were as follows: (1) to predict drawdown conditions and to estimate aquifer properties during pumping tests undertaken in radially symmetric heterogeneous aquifers, and (2) to identify a method for assessing the transmissivity field along the radial coordinate in radially symmetric and fully heterogeneous transmissivity fields. The first objective was achieved by expanding an existing analytical drawdown formulation that was valid for a radially symmetric confined aquifer with two concentric zones around the pumping well to an N concentric zone confined aquifer having a constant transmissivity value within each zone. The formulation was evaluated for aquifers with three and four concentric zones to assess the effects of the transmissivity field on the drawdown conditions. The specific conditions under which aquifer properties could be identified using traditional methods of analysis were also evaluated. The second objective was achieved by implementing the inverse solution algorithm (ISA), which was developed for petroleum reservoirs to groundwater aquifer settings. The results showed that the drawdown values are influenced by a volumetric integral of a weighting function and the transmissivity field within the cone of depression. The weighting function migrates in tandem with the expanding cone of depression. The ability of the ISA to predict radially symmetric and log-normally distributed transmissivity fields was assessed against analytical and numerical benchmarks. The results of this investigation indicated that the ISA method is a viable technique for evaluating the radial transmissivity variations of heterogeneous aquifer settings. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.