WRIGHT, Dawn J.1, O'DEA, Elizabeth1, TOOMEY, Douglas R.2, CUNY, Janice E.3, and CUSHING, Judith B.4, (1) Department of Geosciences, Oregon State Univ, 104 Wilkinson Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-5506,, (2) Department of Geological Sciences, Univ of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, (3) Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Univ of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, (4) Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA 98505

During several decades of investigation, the East Pacific Rise seafloor-spreading center at 9-10N has been explored by marine geologists, geophysicists chemists, and biologists, emerging as one of the best studied sections of the global mid-ocean ridge. It is an example of a region for which there is now a great wealth of observational data, results and data-driven theoretical studies. However, these have yet to be fully utilized, either by research scientists or educators. While the situation is improving, a large amount of data, results, and related theoretical models still exist either in an inert, non-interactive form (e.g., journal publications), or as unlinked and currently incompatible computer data or algorithms. Presented here is the prototype of a computational environment and toolset, called the Virtual Research Vessel, to improve the situation by providing marine scientists and educators with simultaneous access to data, maps, and numerical models. While infrastructure is desired and needed for ready access to data and the resulting maps via web GIS, in order to link disparate data sets (data to data), it is argued that data must also be linked to models for better exploration of new relations between observables, refinement of numerical simulations, and the quantitative evaluation of scientific hypotheses. Web GIS is therefore only an initial step rather than a final solution, and the ongoing implementation of the Virtual Research Vessel is a case study for the mid-ocean ridge community to test the effectiveness of moving beyond the "data-to-data" mode towards "data-to-models" and "data-to-interpretation."

Cordilleran Section - 98th Annual Meeting (May 1315, 2002)
Session No. 31
Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Geology and Geophysics
CH2M Hill Alumni Center: Elle
1:30 PM-3:30 PM, Tuesday, May 14, 2002

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