Rocky Mountain Section - 64th Annual Meeting (9–11 May 2012)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:30 PM


MALINCONICO, Lawrence L.1, SUNDERLIN, David1 and LIEW, Chun-Wai2, (1)Geology & Environmental Geosciences, Lafayette College, Van Wickle Hall, Easton, PA 18042, (2)Computer Sciences, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042,

Field exercises in Sedimentology/Stratigraphy and Structural Geology courses at Lafayette College have moved to digital methodologies for data collection as well as for analysis, and presentation of mapping, stratigraphic and cross-section information. This approach is different from traditional field methods where field data are recorded on paper maps and in conventional “orange fieldbooks”. Data collected in this fashion need to be transferred into digital formats for interpretation and presentation, a cumbersome process prone to transcription error.

In order to simplify the transcription process and to increase students’ aptitude as field geologists we have developed an application for tablets that can be used to digitally record geological field data. The App allows the user to select geologic data categories: contact, bedding, fault, joints, stratigraphy and “other”. Common to all pages is the ability to log date, time, and lat/long directly from the tablet. The use of scroll wheels for data entry improves accuracy of the record and insures uniformity in the digital records from day-to-day and between mapping groups. Pictures taken using the tablet’s camera are linked to each record. Post fieldwork, the data (including images) are easily exported to a folder and .csv file that can be opened in a spreadsheet or other programs. This approach’s power comes from the ability to have each data record spatial located in Google Earth and the associated data available while in the field. This greatly improves the efficacy of student mapping efforts and increases the students’ focus as they devise plans for subsequent field days.

The tablet app was tested in the fall of 2012 as part of a mapping project that the students do mid-semester in Wyoming. Students then use the digital geologic database to construct a report on the geologic history of the region. All of the material in the report is presented digitally. The maps, cross-sections, stereoplots, and structural information are entered into different layers in Adobe Illustrator. Not only does this result in a powerful way to present the data, it allows the students to gain a better understanding of the geologic relationships because they can turn layers on and off and develop a greater appreciation for the field area’s 3-dimensional relationships.

  • SWGSA-S'12Poster.pdf (34.4 MB)