2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 59-10
Presentation Time: 4:05 PM


DUDEK, Marissa J., Geology Department, Northern Virginia Community College, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22652, BENTLEY, Callan, Geology program, Northern Virginia Community College, Annadale, VA 22652, ROHRBACK-SCHIAVONE, Robin, Geology Department, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA 22003 and PITTS, Alan, Department of Earth Science, University of Camerino, Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 19f, Camerino, 62032, Italy, mjd25397@email.vccs.edu

The field geologist returns to their lab & considers their field data, often wishing for a second look at key sites. Across the hall in a classroom, a student struggles with understanding an outcrop from a single small image in a textbook. Another student, confined to a wheelchair, cannot physically clamber up an outcrop that their normally-abled peers can. These diverse challenges can be addressed using GigaPan imagery.

GigaPans are interactive high-resolution panoramic photos created using a robot camera mount. The robot takes a series of full-magnification photos in a grid pattern, with each image overlapping its neighbors in every direction. Shot in this systematic pattern, the individual images are easily digitally merged together using stitching software, making a single composite image that can be stored, shared, & viewed for free online. GigaPan images can be embedded in external websites, with or without “snapshots” of key features, or in Google Earth. They can be utilized in the geoscience classrooms, in outreach efforts such as museum exhibits, and as a component of research efforts. Geologic features can be viewed in high definition when not in the field, allowing students authentic research experiences, as well as the sharing of outcrop details between researchers. The minute details of a hand sample can be viewed using a laptop or smartphone; a bonus for departments or programs that lack sufficient microscope equipment. Critically, online students and students with disabilities can have access to outcrops, samples, and landscapes that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Our group is building a massive repository of geoscience GigaPans that are free for anyone to use. It is called the Mid-Atlantic Geo-Image Collection (MAGIC): http://gigapan.com/groups/100/galleries. We have built themed collections of place-, subject-, and scale-based imagery. From unconformities in Texas to Appalachian granites, from Hawaiian sand to Canadian Glaciers, we have GigaPans to help you communicate geoscience concepts. We have built, tested, & refined numerous virtual field experiences for the introductory-level college student. GigaPans allow an interactive and detailed look into science and all its wonders.

Support for this project comes from the Google Earth for On-site & Distance Education (GEODE, DUE 1323419).