Recent advances in digital geospatial applications, online networking, and geo-aware devices are forever changing traditional approaches to geologic inquiry and exploration in the field, office, and classroom. The proliferation of virtual globes, geobrowsers, and related applications is one example of particular relevance to geoscience. It has awakened broad interest in our field among both scientists and non-scientists alike by allowing for very simple yet powerful visualizations of geo-specific data sets. A second example is the growth and popularity of social media, social networking, blogging, and bookmarking / tagging. This is a development with high potential for interaction, collaboration, and data sharing among geoscientists. A third example relates to the integration of digital tools and geospatially aware applications and devices into basic geologic procedures such as data collection, photography, and mapping. Taken together, this (admittedly incomplete) set of factors can be combined into an unprecedented, revolutionary toolset for geoscience research, education, and outreach. With revolution comes change, and change can generate anxiety, fear, and even loathing. Nonetheless, modern geoscientists are now at the cusp of a new paradigm of interaction, collaboration, publication, and authorship. We also face a tide of increasingly higher expectations from students, colleagues, grantors, and anonymous end-users of our data and ideas. Just imagine if your first glimpse of a globe was of one in virtual form that could be spun and zoomed at will to reveal amazing detail of the Earth at essentially any chosen point. That is a high bar from which to start developing expectations about geologic research and education. Instead of fearing change, we should embrace and guide it for the betterment of our science. Change does not have to be difficult. Many applications and devices are simple to use and provide immediate and powerful results. Others are more complex, but afford access to unprecedented amounts of information and various means for its organization, visualization, and interpretation. Embracing the simple is the first step in approaching the complex, and there are many steps along the continuum. As more digital geologic data become widely and easily available, the potential for and realization of scientific discovery will increase tremendously.
Enhanced contextual experience is huge. Smart maps can revolutionize the dissemination of geologic data Geologic maps are exceptionally collaborative products, particularly now. Traditional methods and concepts of geology can be easily combined with contemporary digital and web-based applications to forever change the dissemination, accessibility, and scope of geoscience information. The growing array of web-based geospatial applications, online venues for collaboration and data sharing, and novel applications of digital photography collectively provide an unprecedented but underutilized toolset for geoscience research, education, and outreach. A new paradigm of scientific behavior is afoot. Geologists need to explore and adopt the related technological developments more widely. I believe that resistance to adoption is motivated by anxiety about technology and new concepts of data sharing, collaboration, and publication. Resistance appears to follow broad generational and, in part, institutional trends. Over time, increasingly high data-developer and end-user expectations will render a significant paradigm shift inevitable, so opting-out early is a poor choice. Such a shift does not have to be difficult. Some tools are simple to use and provide immediate and powerful results. Others are more complex, but afford practicing geoscientists with unprecedented amounts of information and a means with which to easily organize, visualize, and interpret it. In my experience, simple demonstrations of various digital applications can help cross the threshold between reluctance and enthusiasm. Embracing the simple is the first step in approaching the complex and there are many applications lying along that continuum. More will certainly develop. As more and more geologic data become widely and systematically available, the potential for discovery will increase remarkably.
Geologic maps are complex and elegant distillations of the collection, interpretation, development, and characterization of geologic data. Emphasis on basic field methods
Presentation mode for new ArcGIS Explorer can really maximize instructional potential of virtual globes. A potentially huge advance.
Possible to integrate all of the tools discussed into one place to develop an enriching experience. Not at all simple with ESRI Products Enhances understanding Supplements explanation Aids review process Easily shared Meets expectations Versatile
This is a huge innovation that can quell the nerves of nearly every luddite. It bridges the admittedly huge gap between the intuitive nature of simply writing with the less intuitive nature of entering data in the field. This conforms to long established field protocols that even I follow
Every field geologist should have a gps if not to simply archive their activities Data for your records, to substantiate the map, and to allow others to know where you were
This slide brings up the elephant of the gps unit...isn’t everyone using one of these now? Simple, systematic, detailed record of field traverses. Useful for geotagging photos among other things. Come on ESRI, make this easier to work with.
Online albums allow for commenting from invited or even uninvited observers; can be tagged; etc.
Despite the uncanny and utter obviousness, this effort has become a Sisyphean task
Some may say ‘stupid’. We’re all busy.
This tool can revolutionize your map-making. If you get one and it doesn’t appeal to you, you may need to seek counseling.
Indispensible tool for visualizing your field area once back in the office Can also export kml to shapefiles if some key features are easier to map with GE
The slope shade is a real game changer, no?
Collaborative given the scale of the subject and the features of interest Many geos have stopped at email Geotagging photographs is a geologists dream come true, isn’t it? The more spatially correct data and observations that are available, the more discoveries that can be made Existing tools work for compilation, review, outreach, research Mapping on your freaking phone! Requires a paradigm shift in authorship, usage rights and expectations, and an end to some previously ‘static’ publications The paper map /paper paper model is going away, it is certain to go away. I can think of at least one paper in the last year, published in a prestigious scientific journal, that could have benefitted immensely from a collaborative input process.
For distributing geologic data, but not editing it collaboratively
Digital Geology in the 21 st Century: It’s here, don’t fear, get into it! P. Kyle House Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology University of Nevada Miocene paleogeography by Ron Blakey, NAU
Essential Tools for Office Compilation Wacom Cintiq 21ux Worth every penny. Digitizing Tablet: good Digitizing LCD Panel: amazing You can’t sign your name with a computer mouse. Why would you can map with one?
Visualization and Compilation with Virtual Globes The best reason for a second monitor, or one really big one