Geology 408

GEOL 408

Catalog Entry

GEOL 408. Spatial Data Applications in Geology
Three hours lecture; two hours laboratory (4).

Prerequisites: Twelve hours of geology and permission of the instructor.

Introduction to the study of the theoretical and practical analysis of spatial data in geology. Included will be map reading, photo interpretation and the use of remote sensing, image processing, and geographic information systems to interpret geologic spatial information for resource exploration and environmental management.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Maps comprise a major instrument for the display of geologic spatial data, yet most Geologists have only a rudimentary background knowledge of maps, consequently the course will begin with a detailed explanation of maps. Included will be an introduction to global positioning systems (GPS). The collection of remotely sensed data by aircraft and satellites will be explained from a theoretical and practical standpoint. Students will learn the use of photo interpretation to identify geologic features. The use of computer systems to analyze and present spatial data will comprise a significant portion of the course. Image processing of spatial data by computer will be introduced using the IMAGINE software by ERDAS. Students will learn the theoretical and practical use of computer based geographic information systems (GIS) using a number of GIS packages, including ARC/INFO by ESRI and IMAGINE by ERDAS.

Arrangement of topics is as follows:

I. Introduction
II. Maps

A. Scale, coordinates, projections
B. Control framework; planimetric, topographic, cadastral, area boundary, facilities, and natural features
C. Global Positioning System (GPS)
D. Types of maps

III. Sources of Geologic Spatial Data

A. Conventional sources - field work and paper maps
B. Digitizing and scanning
C. Aerial and Satellite Data
D. Internet resources and the U.S.G.S.
E. CD's, tapes, and other resources

IV. Remote Sensing

A. Electromagnetic radiation, the human eye, resolution, and orthorectification
B. Image data from aircraft
C. Image data from satellites

1. Landsat
3. etc.

D. Sidescan radar
E. Photo interpretation

1. Destructional landforms
2. Recognition of rock types
3. Stratigraphic relationships
4. Structural relationships
5. Superficial deposits

V. Image Processing

A. Computer systems - hardware, software, and peripheral devices
B. Data types and data storage - raster and vector
C. Image display
D. Hard copy
E. Image enhancement, transforms and filtering
F. Image classification
G. Rectification

VI. Geographic Information System (GIS)

A. Introduction - background and historical development
B. Principal elements of GIS
C. Data structures

1. Graphic, non-graphic
2. Topology
3. Attribute data
4. Data layers
5. Databases
6. Data conversions


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will include three hours of lecture time and two hours of laboratory time. Lecture time will emphasize the theoretical foundations of spatial data analysis using formal lectures. Laboratory time will involve a series of exercises designed to develop skills working with maps; photo interpretation; sources of spatial data, including the Internet; and computers for image processing and geographic information systems.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

This course is intended as an undergraduate level introduction to the techniques of spatial data analysis being used today in geology. It is anticipated that students completing this course will have the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to take more advanced courses in specific areas such as remote sensing, image processing, or geographic information systems. Students will also be able to contribute to and make more informed decisions about the use of spatial data in the work place.

Objectives: Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

1. Explain the theoretical foundations of working with spatial data
2. Be aware of the uses and limitations of spatial data in geology
3. Demonstrate the use of computers for:

-collecting data from the Internet
-analyzing spatial data through simple image processing and GIS applications
-creating simple paper map products

4. Be able to make basic photo interpretations of geologic features


Assessment Measures

The student will be assessed according to her/his competence demonstrated in completing: (1) three written examinations, (2) a number of short laboratory exercises, (3) a term paper, and (4) a project with written report.


Other Course Information

GEOL 408 is a required course for the Environmental and Engineering Geoscience Concentration for a B.S. degree in geology.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

Date Action Reviewed by
August 16, 2005 Reviewed and Updated Stephen W. Lenhart, Chair