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Its a digital world after all
August 6, 2008 8:35 PM   Subscribe

OneGeology is an international initiative of the geological surveys of the world which is taking the data from the individual surveys and combining their data into a consistent format to produce the first digital geological map of the world.

There are previews of the insanely large sample files on the press page. There is an interactive thingy here. It only works in IE and (2 < Firefox < 3). The default image it brings up is just the surface of the Earth, ala Google Earth, but you can add layers of geological information, at the world or political unit level, with the "add layers" button. From one planetary geology course (Moons for Goons) twenty years ago this looks pretty cool, but I will defer to the geologists among us.
posted by shothotbot (6 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Officially the most awesome thing ever, but then, it is possible that I'm a bit biased. Regardless, you've given me something new with which to torment my students, and for that, I thank you.

Thus begins next semester's class focusing on 'SEE? SEE HOW AWESOME THE EARTH IS?' Seminar format. Probably graded on a curve.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 9:49 PM on August 6, 2008


Some of the data gaps are a little disappointing (so little love for Asia and India, not that I'm horribly surprised, and more geomorphology outside of the original DEM would be nice) but I think this is a great start in really utilizing some of the more recent mapping tools. I'd hoped the relatively-easily-added-onto format of NASA's WorldWind would come to good use.

It would be nice to have better organization of and more navigable data (such as consistent data of one type-- lithology or surficial deposits or age-- across political boundaries) but I'd imagine that if this impresses people these things will come in time. Still, having the information that the official surveys do have all in one spot is pretty great. I kind of feel like it's more a way of showing the progress and areas which need improvement rather than a handy data tool in the current format. I'm actually not sure if it will be able to jump that gap. Having the option of cutting the data down into geologic regions based on geologic characteristics (such as lithology, again, or tectonic regions, depending on what the purpose of your investigation is) might be a feasible option. But understanding that it's a project that's currently under way, I'm highly optimistic.

Sorry for the double comment. I get a little overexcited sometimes. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:11 PM on August 6, 2008


Your Civilization begins building the {OneGeology} wonder!
In {8} turns time, you will {reveal the whole map}!
Do you want to allocate additional resources? (Y/N) >
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:36 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. This is great. As a post-grad geology student who is having a hard enough time finging a few geophysical images and geological maps in Australia, this is phenomenal (or at least, will be).

Google street view came out in Australia yesterday, which inspired this thought: a Google Earth data set that lets you fly around and zoom in on any region in the world to see the satellite photos, which you can then layer on stratigraphy, structure, geophysics, all sorts of things. And elevation, population density, demographics, rainfall, income, mean age, anything... All in one place, linked together. That would be nice.
posted by twirlypen at 2:36 AM on August 7, 2008


This is probably pretty cool, but it is taking forever to load. Looks like this is going live this week and being introduced at the IGC?

a Google Earth data set that lets you fly around and zoom in on any region in the world to see the satellite photos, which you can then layer on stratigraphy, structure, geophysics, all sorts of things. And elevation, population density, demographics, rainfall, income, mean age, anything... All in one place, linked together. That would be nice.

This would be awesome! With the exception of stratigraphy and structural features I have seen data sets for the rest of those sorts of things, albeit for the US.

I'm only about 8 years out from being an undergrad, and I am amazed by the tools that I have seen on the web with geology information that were not available in just those few years. I always thought it would be cool to create an animated palinspastic map of my senior field area, but alas I lacked the technical skills. I was one of two people in my graduating class (of 12) that had a personal computer!
posted by Big_B at 11:04 AM on August 7, 2008


In theory, with sufficiently powerful processing algorithms, a geologist could set up a bunch of sensors, whack the ground with a stick, and produce a 3D map of the underlying dirt and rock structure. A harder whack (eg, from an explosive) would give a wider map, and a natural earthquake would give the widest maps of all.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:26 PM on August 7, 2008


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