2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 144-6
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM-3:15 PM

WHICH WAY ARE WE GOING? ONLINE MAPPING TOOLS TO HELP STUDENTS VISUALIZE PLATE MOTIONS WITH GPS DATA

OLDS, Shelley E., Education and Community Engagement, UNAVCO, 6350 Nautilus Dr, Boulder, CO 80301, olds@unavco.org

Earth's tectonic plates are constantly moving, grinding, and crumpling in an inexorably slow but measurable, dance. The temporal and spatial scales of plate tectonics and other Earth processes can be difficult to understand for many learners. High-precision GPS, LiDAR, InSAR and other modern geodetic techniques capture data over more familiar time scales and on easily visualized orders of magnitude (millimeters to centimeters per year), providing an effective means of illustrating the geomorphic effects of plate tectonics and allowing learners to visualize these processes.

It is the visual display of GPS, LiDAR, InSAR data, however, that helps make plate tectonics come alive for learners as a process that is happening in the present. The Jules Verne Voyager (JVV) suite of interactive map tools, originally developed by UNAVCO in the late 1990’s, was created to better visualize the inter-relationships of geophysical and geologic processes, structures, and measurements including high-precision GPS velocity data. The JVV tools have been very well received by educators in introductory Earth science courses.

More recently, UNAVCO built the Data for Educators webpage, incorporating an embedded Google Map with GPS locations and providing current GPS time series plots and downloadable data from the Plate Boundary Observatory. To extend and update the datasets available to our community, UNAVCO has been exploring new online and desktop-based technologies such as Google Maps and Google Earth which allow the inclusion of visualizations of more types of datasets, on the fly, while maintaining the self-contained, familiar, and easy to use interface of the JVV map tools.

Concurrent to these efforts, UNAVCO is developing free, place-based, data-rich learning modules for educators and students in introductory Earth science courses at secondary and undergraduate levels. These modules integrate new scientific discoveries related to crustal deformation and explore applications of GPS, LiDAR, and InSAR techniques to research. They also provide students with case studies highlighting the process of scientific discovery. This presentation will provide an overview of our current and in-development visualization tools and how they are used in our learning modules.

UNAVCO is a non-profit, membership-governed consortium funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 144
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach
Oregon Convention Center: B117/118/119
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, 19 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 384

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