2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 53-1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-1:45 PM

DIGITAL GEOLOGY IN THE 21st CENTURY: IT'S HERE, DON'T FEAR, GET INTO IT

HOUSE, P. Kyle, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, MS 178, Reno, NV 89557, pkhouse@gmail.com

Recent advances in digital geospatial applications, online networking, and geo-aware devices are forever changing traditional approaches to geologic inquiry and exploration in the field, office, and classroom. The proliferation of virtual globes, geobrowsers, and related applications is one example of particular relevance to geoscience. It has awakened broad interest in our field among both scientists and non-scientists alike by allowing for very simple yet powerful visualizations of geo-specific data sets. A second example is the growth and popularity of social media, social networking, blogging, and bookmarking / tagging. This is a development with high potential for interaction, collaboration, and data sharing among geoscientists. A third example relates to the integration of digital tools and geospatially aware applications and devices into basic geologic procedures such as data collection, photography, and mapping. Taken together, this (admittedly incomplete) set of factors can be combined into an unprecedented, revolutionary toolset for geoscience research, education, and outreach. With revolution comes change, and change can generate anxiety, fear, and even loathing. Nonetheless, modern geoscientists are now at the cusp of a new paradigm of interaction, collaboration, publication, and authorship. We also face a tide of increasingly higher expectations from students, colleagues, grantors, and anonymous end-users of our data and ideas. Just imagine if your first glimpse of a globe was of one in virtual form that could be spun and zoomed at will to reveal amazing detail of the Earth at essentially any chosen point. That is a high bar from which to start developing expectations about geologic research and education. Instead of fearing change, we should embrace and guide it for the betterment of our science. Change does not have to be difficult. Many applications and devices are simple to use and provide immediate and powerful results. Others are more complex, but afford access to unprecedented amounts of information and various means for its organization, visualization, and interpretation. Embracing the simple is the first step in approaching the complex, and there are many steps along the continuum. As more digital geologic data become widely and easily available, the potential for and realization of scientific discovery will increase tremendously.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 53
Google Earth to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in the Geosciences
Oregon Convention Center: Portland Ballrooms 251/258
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Sunday, 18 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 164

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