Enhancing Geoscience Education with the GeoMapApp Data Exploration Tool

Thursday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms


Andrew Goodwillie, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
When performing data-related activities, students show better engagement and increased understanding when they gain a sense of ownership of the data. GeoMapApp (http://www.geomapapp.org) – a free, map-based data discovery and visualisation tool developed at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory – provides students and researchers alike with access to hundreds of built-in research-grade geoscience data sets covering geology, geophysics, geochemistry, cryospherics, and the environment. Users can also import their own data tables, spreadsheets, shapefiles, grids, and images. Simple manipulation and analysis tools combined with layering capabilities and engaging visualisations provide a powerful platform with which to explore and interrogate geoscience data in its proper geospatial context.

A new Save Session function allows educators to preserve a pre-loaded state of GeoMapApp. When shared with a class, the saved file allows every student to open GeoMapApp at exactly the same starting point from which to begin their data explorations.

A range of GeoMapApp learning modules aimed at school- and college-level students is already available. For example, in one module, students analyse seafloor crustal age data to calculate spreading rates in different ocean basins.

A multi-resolution land-ocean global elevation base map forms the backbone of GeoMapApp and includes Space Shuttle elevation data and ultra-high-resolution surveys of coral reefs and seafloor hydrothermal vent fields.

Examples of built-in data sets that can be layered over the elevation model include interactive earthquake and volcano data, plate tectonic velocities, geological maps, and deep submersible bottom photos. A versatile profiling tool provides instant access to data cross-sections. Contouring and 3-D views are also offered. Tabular data – both imported and built-in – can be displayed in a variety of ways and a lasso tool enables users to quickly select data points directly from the map.

For assignment reports, various export options allow students to include data-based evidence to support their conclusions.