GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 67-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 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 and PITTS, Alan, Department of Earth Science, University of Camerino, Piazza Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 19f, Camerino, 62032, Italy,

Geologic hand samples are essential tools which are utilized in almost every aspect of geoscience research and education. For geoscience educational purposes, hand samples are a significant resource for conveying geologic concepts and processes to students. The hands-on activity of studying rock hand samples allows students to have an interactive learning experience by providing the opportunity for an in-depth look at key features of rocks. However, hand samples can be inconvenient to transport due to weight or fragility issues, and are often inaccessible to students outside of the classroom or to students engaged in distance learning and online courses. We present a collection of three dimensional (3D) models of hand samples created using photogrammetry which can be shared with students and utilized as teaching tools that are freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. Users, including those without sight, may even download and render the models in solid form using a 3D printer. Pre-service teachers may find these useful manipulatives in their K12 science lessons. Downloaded models may also be embedded as digital objects in Google Earth.

For the past five years, the Mid-Atlantic Geo Image Collection (M.A.G.I.C.) has been building a massive digital repository of geologic material featuring an extensive suite of gigapixel panoramic images of hand samples and outcrops. We have ~1400 images in the collection, with an average size of ~1 gigapixel each. These materials are free and available to everyone for educational or research purposes. Our ever-growing collection now includes an array of 3D models. 3D hand samples are created by taking a series of static photos from multiple angles of the sample, and stitched together using Agisoft PhotoScan software. After the model is created, it is then uploaded to the website From there, people can view, download, and embed the models into a website or print with a 3D printer – all for free.

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