The development of digital field data collection systems to fulfil the British Geological Survey mapping requirements

Jordan, Colm J.; Bee, Emma J.; Smith, Nichola A.; Lawley, Russell S.; Ford, Jon; Howard, Andrew S.; Laxton, John L.. 2005 The development of digital field data collection systems to fulfil the British Geological Survey mapping requirements. In: GIS and Spatial Analysis : Annual Conference of the International Association for Mathematical Geology, Toronto, Canada, 2005. Toronto, Canada, York University, 886-891.

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Geological mapping with pen and paper is proving inefficient in many respects in the digital age. With this in mind, the British Geological Survey (BGS) instigated the System for Integrated Geospatial MApping programme (SIGMA) to improve the mapping workflow by evaluating and implementing effective digital procedures for baseline data review, geological data acquisition, and geological mapping and modelling. The project has developed digital field data capture systems to collect information for output to a Geographical Information System (GIS) and digital geological maps. BGS first explored the concept of digital field data collection in the early 1990’s with the conclusion that the mobile computing hardware available at the time was not suitable. An effective digital field data capture system will have a number of advantages over the conventional analogue recording systems. The first is to increase the efficiency of data collection and its subsequent manipulation, predominantly by reducing the time spent copying analogue field data to databases/GIS. The system design will ensure that all field geologists record the same range of structured data and also that mandatory or important information is not omitted. Drop-down menus and approved dictionaries are incorporated to standardise nomenclature. An additional advantage of a digital field system is that a GIS of baseline data (e.g. a series of historic topographic maps) can be uploaded onto the mobile PC, ensuring that new data are collected in the context of prior geological knowledge and with a wide range of other geographic and environmental datasets. It should be noted that while we strive to guarantee corporate consistency and common standards by structuring our data collection, there must also be a degree of flexibility so that geologists are not unduly constrained. Moreover, when we replicate functions that are ideally suited to pencil and paper, such as drawing sketches, we must ensure that the digital solutions are fit for purpose and do not leave field geologists yearning for ‘the old days’.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Information Systems Development
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 02 Nov 2009 11:43 +0 (UTC)

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