Data in the palm of your hand – Mobile, digital and 3D geology
Clive Mitchell of British Geological Survey
Geology has come a long way since the advent of the first national-scale geological map produced by pioneering British geologist William Smith in 1815. The traditional image of 19th and 20th Century geologists is with hammer in hand traversing geological boundaries, annotating paper maps and recording observations in a trusty field notebook. The 21st Century counterpart carries a web-enabled ruggedised tablet computer with line work and observations entered directly onto a GPS-located digital map capable of incorporating detailed metadata, photographs and other geological information.
The capture, management and delivery of data is at the heart of the modern British Geological Survey (BGS). Data captured by geologists during survey programmes is used to continually update the understanding of the geology of the UK. BGS maps are wholly digital with a seamless geological map of the UK that is scalable from the national 1:1 million scale to the local 1:10,000 scale.
The revolution in spatial data over the last 20 years has enabled a move from 2-dimensional flat plan view geological maps to the 3-dimensional geological models of the subsurface. Visualisation technology enables geologists to carry out virtual field excursions before leaving the office. In addition, the policy of Open Data has seen a surge in freely available geological information largely accessed through web map viewers and data portals. More recently mobile applications such as iGeology in the UK and mGeology in the United Arab Emirates enable access to geological information via smart phones and tablets.
This presentation will look at how the digital revolution has transformed the delivery of geological data to the world. It will cover the advances made by the British Geological Survey in delivering geological maps to your smart phone, 3D subsurface modelling and 3D visualisation of data in a ‘virtual field laboratory’.