2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


JOHNSTON, Shelley, Dept of Earth Sciences, Boston Univ, 675 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215, WHITMEYER, Steven J., Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, MSC 7703, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 and DE PAOR, Declan, Department of Earth Sciences, Boston Univ, 685 Commonwealth Av, Boston, MA 02215, shelleyj@bu.edu

Field Camp - a residential field geology class of about 6-weeks duration - has long been considered a capstone course in undergraduate Geology, Geological Sciences, and/or Earth Sciences curricula. In recent years some departments have dropped the field camp requirement, and several camps that taught mapping using only traditional analog methods have closed. Ironically, these trends have coincided with a renaissance in geologic mapping as technology has become readily available to build geologic maps in the field. In addition, 3-D visualization software is now available to display background data such as Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), images of topographic maps and geologic maps in any orientation. Familiarity with these digital tools is increasingly desirable for new graduates entering the work force or starting graduate studies, but many students have little to no digital field experience. At Boston University's field camp in Iceland and Western Ireland, we have been steadily incorporating digital technology into the curriculum whilst endeavoring to maintain the best practices of classical mapping. As previously reported, students respond enthusiastically to the incorporation of their own data in high-tech visualizations and interactive presentations. We here report on further innovations from our 2005 season. Digital mapping in the field encompassed group mapping projects with handheld PDA units (Trimble, HP iPAQ, etc) running ArcPad under the Windows CE operating system. In this exercise students could view existing topographic, aerial photo and cultural data at specific locations where they gathered new geologic data. Field data from all mapping groups was combined and evaluated during evening discussions, at which students identified structures that they may not have recognized in the field. Students also prepared a professional-format geologic map of the same field area using ArcGIS workstations and digital geologic maps created by the Irish Geological Survey. Other digital components of the curriculum targeted 3-D visualization and included assembly and interpretation of block diagrams and rotational DEM images of the regional geology.