Field geologists going digital

Geologist Terry Pavlis’ digital epiphany came nigh twenty years agone when he was inwards a museum looking at a 19th-century geology exhibit that included a Brunton compass. “Holy moly!” he remembers thinking, “We’re silent using this tool.” This is despite the fact that technological changes over the final 10 years possess got non exclusively made the Brunton compass obsolete, precisely swept away newspaper patch notebooks equally good (the stone hammer as well as hand-lens magnifier stay unchallenged, however).
The fundamental technologies that supercede the 19th-century patch tools are the smart phone, PDA, handheld GPS, as well as tablet PC as well as iPad. Modern tablets, inwards particular, tin give the axe create everything a Brunton compass can, addition possess got pictures as well as human action equally both a notebook as well as mapping device, as well as assemble precise place information using GPS. They tin give the axe fifty-fifty hold out equipped alongside open-source GIS software.
Pavlis, a geology professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, as well as Stephen Whitmeyer of James Madison University volition hold out presenting the 21st-century agency to create patch geology on Monday, five Nov., at the coming together of the Geological Society of America (GSA) inwards Charlotte, N.C. The presentations are a business office of a digital poster Pardee Keynote Symposium titled, “Digital Geology Speed-Dating: An Innovative Coupling of Interactive Presentations as well as Hands-On Workshop.”
“I had a dream nosotros would non hold out touching newspaper anymore,” says Pavlis. “I’m straight off form of an evangelist on this subject.”
That’s non to tell that the conversion to digital patch geology is anywhere nigh complete. The novel engineering scientific discipline is non quite catching on inwards roughly academy patch courses because the engineering scientific discipline is to a greater extent than expensive as well as becomes obsolete quickly, says Pavlis.
“Field geology courses are expensive plenty for students,” he notes. As a result, the affair of teaching patch geology alongside digital tools is truly rather controversial amid professors.
Meanwhile, on the classroom side of public scientific discipline education, at that spot are novel digital tools that select the patch into the classroom. One of them is GigaPans — gigantic panorama images.
“A GigaPan is basically a truly big painting demo that’s made of lots of full-resolution zoomed-in photos,” explains geologist Callan Bentley of Northern Virginia Community College. To brand a GigaPan, you lot ask a GigaPan Robot that looks at the scene as well as breaks it into a grid, as well as then shoots the grid. That tin give the axe effect inwards hundreds or fifty-fifty thousands of images. The GigaPan organization as well as then stitches them together. The resulting stitched epitome is uploaded to the website where everybody tin give the axe reckon it.
“In geology, nosotros await at things inwards multiple scales,” says Bentley. “A well-composed GigaPan is real useful.” Bentley volition hold out presenting GigaPans at the same GSA coming together session equally Pavlis, along alongside others using the latest engineering scientific discipline to report as well as instruct geology.
GigaPans were developed past times Google, NASA, as well as the robotics lab at Carnegie Mellon University. Bentley got involved when the “Fine Outreach for Science” plan recruited him. Since then, he has documenting geology of the Mid-Atlantic region.
“I possess got used roughly of it inwards the classroom,” said Bentley. “I possess got students await at a scene, brand a hypothesis as well as then await closer to exam the hypothesis.”

The higher upwards floor is based on materials provided by Geological Society of America.Note: Materials may hold out edited for content as well as length.