Ahead of the game or behind the curve? (or, why building our confidence in models is essential)

Ford, Jon; Dearden, Rachel; Kessler, Holger. 2013 Ahead of the game or behind the curve? (or, why building our confidence in models is essential). [Lecture] In: GSA, Denver Annual Meeting 2013, Denver, USA, Oct 3013. Geological Society of America.

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Three-dimensional geological models provide geologists with a medium through which to convey their understanding of the subsurface. In the UK, geological modelling has recently been applied to several infrastructure projects, such as high speed railways and tunneling projects. Typically, models are used to indicate ground conditions at the initial planning stage of a project. For more proactive users, the model can also act as a medium through which to develop an evolving conceptual ground model as additional geological data and information is collected. The latter facilitates continuous improvement of geological knowledge and understanding and has the potential to enhance national geological understanding. Use of 3D data is becoming mainstream in the construction sector through the uptake of the building information model (BIM); that is a virtual 3D representation of structures that aids planning, design, scheduling, construction, maintenance and demolition. Unfortunately the application of 3D geological models appears to be lagging behind the uptake of BIM. Why is this? Are we reticent about deploying models with much less than the mm-scale accuracy afforded by BIM modelling? Or is geological uncertainty understood by professionals, and is it in fact, the geologists, who are reticent about deploying models widely, and hence are contributing to the lack of appreciation for what the models can offer to prospective users? This paper considers how we must proceed to improve confidence in 3D geological models; demonstrating the validity of the 3D medium, refining our approaches and recognising the errors may help us improve confidence in our ability to build 3D models, but moreover, perhaps it is the cultural barriers in particular, the geologist’s culture, that needs to change before we can convince the user community to embrace 3D geological modelling.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Lecture)
Additional Keywords: Confidence
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
General > History of Science
Computer Science
Date made live: 20 Nov 2013 14:24 +0 (UTC)

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