Paper No. 59-5
Presentation Time: 2:35 PM
A DIGITAL FIELD GUIDE: USING GIGAPIXEL IMAGERY AND GOOGLE EARTH AS TOOLS TO CREATE DIGITAL FIELD GUIDES AND VIRTUAL FIELD EXPERIENCES IN GEOLOGY
Digital geologic learning material and online resources are continuing to become more useful and viable as tools for geoscience education. These tools allow students the opportunity to investigate field sites which they might be physically unable to visit and also allow educators the ability to instantly access distant field sites as teaching areas. Aerial imagery available on Google Earth paired with ultra-high-resolution gigapixel images of outcrops and hand samples can be incorporated into Virtual Field Experiences (VFEs) that provide a means for conducting “virtual field work” for educational or research purposes. We present here a digital field guide which has been adapted from the GSA 2015 scientific field trip titled “Appalachian Stratigraphy, Tectonics and Eustasy from the Blue Ridge to Allegheny Front Virginia and West Virginia” and reformatted as an educational model. Stops from this trip pre-conference field trip have been recorded using gigapixel outcrop imagery paired with complementary macro GigaPan images of hand samples taken from each location and placed into a Google Earth environment using Google Earth Tour Builder. One advantage of this format is that it allows users to see hand samples at a greater resolution than they would be able to in the field with a hand lens. This digital field guide has been converted into a learning tool which can be used as a stand-alone virtual field trip intended to be run remotely from a PC or as an on-site aid for visiting these field sites in person using a portable tablet or smartphone. The geologic imagery from this Google Earth based VFE is designed to follow specific themes with specific learning goals. However this material is open to public and can be reused and reformatted in the future under other themes focused on different educational goals within the various disciplines of geoscience. This VFE is available to the public as part of the Google Earth for On-site and Distance Education project (GEODE, DUE 1323419).