GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 72-7
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


NEITZKE ADAMO, Lauren, Rutgers University Geology Museum, Rutgers University, Geology Hall, 85 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, ZOET, Lucas K., Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Lewis G. Weeks Hall for Geological Sciences, 1215 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706, IVERSON, Neal R., Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, 253 Science, Ames, IA 50011 and WOODARD, Jacob, Geoscience, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

The field of geodesy, and especially remote sensing, has experienced tremendous growth in the past decade due to the increased availability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs; commonly referred to as drones), advances in LiDAR and GPS technologies, and the rise of photogrammetric techniques such as Structure from Motion (SfM). Research has proven how effective these technologies can be for many subfields of geology; however, the potential to use these methods in outreach and education has not yet been fully explored (Palaigeorgiou et al., 2017).

Here we present an educational activity created through a collaboration between scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University, and the NSF-funded educational program, PolarTREC. The “Sliding Glaciers” PolarTREC project is part of a larger research effort that combines high-resolution field data and computer models to better constrain sliding laws of glaciers, which relate subglacial stresses to glacier slip velocity. Improved sliding laws will allow more accurate numeric models of glacier flow and associated predictions of future sea-level rise. However, before real world landscapes can be incorporated into computer simulations, the land surface must first be converted into a digital elevation model. Explaining this process in a way that can be understood by the general public is the focus of this activity.

High-resolution, 2D aerial photographs of a bedrock glacial forefield in Switzerland were used to render a 3D model using the SfM program Agisoft Photoscan3D. This model was then 3D printed to create a replica of the landscape. Before printing, the landscape was modified by Rutgers Makerspace and broken up into 5 different “puzzle pieces” that can be measured and examined by activity participants. Lesson materials provide instructions on how to simulate the manual method of making measurements to digitize a landscape (i.e., the Emery Method, 1961). The activity concludes with a discussion of modern technologies used to accomplish this task in a more efficient and precise manner, such as LiDAR, UAV surveys, and the photogrammetric method SfM. All materials are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and can be adapted for different age groups. Visit the PolarTREC website to download all lesson materials.