2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


CROW, Ryan S.1, WEIMER, Paul2, ROESINK, John1, AUSTIN, Jay1, HOOD, William3, WILLET, Wesley4 and COUTURE, Rick5, (1)Geological Sciences, Univ Colorado - Boulder, Campus Box 399, Boulder, CO 80309-0399, (2)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, (3)Grand Junction, CO 81503, (4)Computer Science, Univ Colorado - Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, (5)Geological Sciences, Univ Colorado - Boulder, Campus Box 399, Boulder, CO 80309, ryan@emarc.colorado.edu

The Interactive Geology Project, at CU – Boulder, aims to improve informal geologic education at National Parks by producing high quality 3D animated movies. The animated movies will be custom-designed, based on each Park's interpretive themes, current geologic research, and front-end evaluation results. Each display will be incorporated into existing Park educational exhibits as a kiosk display, web deliverable or auditorium presentation.

Animation techniques, similar to those employed in the entertainment industry, can be used to graphically depict the geologic evolution of an area, conveying difficult concepts like deposition, erosion, and structural deformation.

We have constructed a short test-case animation (10 minutes) highlighting the geologic history of Colorado National Monument from the Pennsylvanian to the Present. The animation can be downloaded at http://igp.colorado.edu or viewed at Colorado National Monument's visitor center auditorium.

Formative evaluation of the animation, conducted at Denver Museum of Nature and Science, indicates that the animation held the interest of the viewers and increased their interest in geology. Eighty percent of those polled indicated that they would be very to extremely interested in seeing a similar display at a Park they were visiting. Seventy percent of the respondents said that the animation increased their interest in the subject of geology.

Encouraged by formative evaluation results we hope to continue producing similar animations and web materials for other geologically significant National Parks. As part of a multi-park project front-end evaluation will be conducted to investigate (1) what types of geologic themes interest the public, (2) visitor’s current level of understanding and interest in geology, and (3) presence of any misconceptions relating to geology. Formative and summative evaluation will be used to gage the effectiveness of each animation.