Cutting Edge > Develop Program-Wide Abilities > Undergraduate Research > 2014 Workshop > Activities > GEOLOGIC MAPPING IN GOOGLE EARTH: TOOLS AND CHALLENGES


Mladen Dordevic, James Madison University
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This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see

This page first made public: Aug 8, 2014


Activity 1:
The Structural Geology Mapping Challenge is a web based Google Earth exercise, where students outline bedding traces and measure strike and dip orientations to determine fold geometry. Students start with predetermined training locations, where their answers are automatically graded. Once training is done, students determine a fold axis by fitting a great circle to the bedding poles on an inset stereographic net. Students also fit an axial plane to the fold. More advanced features are in development.

Activity 2:
Create a fully-featured geologic map with ornamented / annotated lines and color-coded units using our web-based Google Earth tool using and outcrop data gathered in the field.



Undergraduate-level structural geology and field mapping courses.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Activity 1:
Structural concepts, such as characterizing fold geometries, trend & plunge, axial plane orientation; stereonets

Activity 2:
Basic stratigraphic concepts (superposition, original horizontality, etc.), basic field mapping concepts, basic elements of geologic maps

How the activity is situated in the course

Not yet implemented. Both activities are in the development and testing phase.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

3-D structural orientation of geologic features from isolated point data, creation of geologic maps from field data

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analyses of data, development of 3-D models,

Other skills goals for this activity

spatial thinking

Description and Teaching Materials

These activities are still in development, so supporting materials are still in development. The activities themselves are web-based, URLs are below:

Activity 1 (Structural Geology Mapping Challenge):

Instruction Manual for Structural Geology Mapping Challenge:

Activity 2 (Tool to build geologic maps):

Teaching Notes and Tips




References and Resources


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