Southeastern Section - 60th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2011)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM


CANNON, Robert P.1, ROGERS, Gary D.1, RUTLEDGE, Alex2, AUSTIN, A. Yates1, NUYDA, Guy-Justin1 and CRENSHAW, Cameron1, (1)Schnabel Engineering, 11-A Oak Branch Dr, Greensboro, NC 27407, (2)Schnabel Engineering, 11A Oak Branch Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407,

Understanding complex geologic and hydrogeologic conditions has traditionally been accomplished with 2-dimensional maps, sections, and supporting data tables. This approach works well with experienced geoscientists and engineers, given sufficient time for review of materials. It works poorly when information has to be communicated quickly and/or with decision makers or stakeholders who have limited experience with maps, sections, and engineering design drawings. Three dimensional imaging and presentation can more effectively communicate complex subsurface condition, as well as allow insights during analysis that might not occur if only 2-D presentation materials were used.

Computer programs like ArcGIS, AutoCAD®, and Google SketchUp, along with advances in computer processing power have made three-dimensional data management and data visualization more accessible and efficient than ever before. Borehole and geologic data can be effectively managed in ArcGIS databases and surfaces such as geologic strata and groundwater levels can be created with a wide range of interpolation techniques. Ground surface data such as LIDAR and aerial photography are becoming more easily accessible and can be integrated into 3-D geologic models to add a sense of scale and realism. The combination of these advances has led to some interesting new tools for geologists to analyze data and communicate findings and interpretations to those that don’t think quite like geologists. Several examples of 3-D data management and visualization for applied geoscience and engineering projects will be presented.