THE EVOLUTION OF FIELD MAPPING AND DATA COLLECTION: FROM PAPER TO DIGITAL AND BEYOND
We present examples of modern approaches to fieldwork and the advantages and disadvantages of digital equipment and software, with a specific focus on Google Earth-based geologic maps. Interactive features of these maps include: 1. The ability to zoom, pan, and tilt the maps to any desired viewpoint; 2. Selectable polygons of geologic units that can be rendered semi- or fully-transparent, allowing the viewer to examine the underlying terrain; 3. Structural symbols (e.g., strike and dip) positioned at outcrop locations, which can display associated metadata; 4. Serial cross-sections positioned precisely over the associated geologic map; and 5. Other data, such as digital photos or sketches, as clickable, zoomable objects at their correct field locations. These interactive features allow users not only to view geologic maps and cross-sections in a virtual 3-D environment, but also to examine the original field data on which the map interpretation is based. As such, digital field and mapping methods allow geoscientists to combine the previously disparate components of field measurements, notes, sketches, photos, maps, and cross-sections into an integrated and easily accessible package.