GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 222-11
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM


PIERCE, Suzanne A.1, PIPPIN, James2, MATHENEY, Megan3, ROSADO, Giselle4, THOMPSON, Zoi3, NAREDO-MARTINEZ, Noe4 and GENTLE Jr., John3, (1)Texas Advanced Computing Center and, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico, (2)Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA 31030, (3)Texas Advanced Computing Center, The University of Texas at Austin, J.J. Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, (4)Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 04510, Mexico,

Three-dimensional (3D) structures and relationships are key to understanding geoscience systems and processes. Hydrogeology can benefit from techniques and innovative models that share information and knowledge about underground systems. The emergence of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, provides a new approach for representing geologic systems. This presentation explores the role of 3D printing and tangibles for geosciences from the perspectives of enabling software, hardware, and applications to both research and educational use cases. Enabling technology development is needed to streamline the use and application of 3D printing. Available conversion processes are limited to expensive commercial software or sets of complex steps that combine applications or code snippets together with unreliable results. 3DDY, is a prototype application that addresses this and provides a data pipeline and workflow for converting geospatial data. Version 0.01 combines the use of scripts, GDAL commands, and high performance computing resources to enable conversion of digital elevation models, topographic and subsurface datasets. Outputs are intended for use in data visualization, data analysis, web mapping and 3D printing applications. The 3D files can then be printed on large-format printers like the “Gigabot” hardware project creating tangible objects based on scientific information. Use cases for 3D tangibles can include research or educational applications. Tangibles inform geoinformatics research by combining elements from cyberinfrastructure, touchscreens, and 3D printing to make interactive objects. 3D tangibles can create a cognitive bridging mechanism between complex information and contextual meaning for people. Current research implements creation of cave maps by testing computer vision libraries and hardware to capture cave conditions. From the field to the lab, digital formats enable interactivity and new forms of use that can help scientists communicate information to broader audiences and increase understanding of information. Interactive tangibles, when combined with data, algorithms, models, and gesture enabled technologies provide substantive mechanisms for conveying complex scientific ideas to audiences of all age levels in formal, informal, and policy settings.