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Leveraging a GIS and the Emerging GeoWeb: Towards Improving the Communication of Geologic Mapping Endeavors to Community Stakeholders
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Leveraging a GIS and the Emerging GeoWeb: Towards Improving the Communication of Geologic Mapping Endeavors to Community Stakeholders

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State Geological Surveys and their employees are typically tasked with collecting, maintaining, interpreting and communicating complicated geologic information to a diverse audience. This audience can include academics, legislators, regional planning commissions, town managers, non-profits, and the general public – many without a background in the geosciences. Therefore it is imperative that state survey’s convey the importance and value of geologic mapping projects to both serve their public mission and when applying for state and federal funds. Survey employees and contractors typically produce written reports and geologic maps as deliverables, which can be difficult for a lay audience to interpret and use to make informed decisions. One way to address this challenge is by creating more accessible visuals and interactive resources that provide a value-added experience for data users.

Communicating the complexity of landscape-scale and three-dimensional relationships can be facilitated through the use of 3D functionality using modern geographic information systems. Synthesizing large datasets and delivering geologic maps so they are accessible to the general public can be accomplished using a variety of open-source desktop and interactive web-based tools. We present case-studies demonstrating the application of these technologies to surficial mapping completed in the towns of Rutland, Dover and Poultney, Vermont. These applications include: (1) creating 3D visualizations of subsurface geologic relationships using ESRI’s ArcScene software, (2) providing a user-driven Google Earth tour, and (3) developing an interactive interface that incorporates surficial and bedrock geology and soils developed using TileMill and JavaScript.

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