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Geological mapping: from maps to models

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Stephen Pates.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has produced geological maps for over 175 years. For the first 150 years geologists relied on paper to convey their conceptualisation of the subsurface, but now mapping is largely digital, allowing us to bring geology to your smart phones and create applied geological maps with relative ease. The evolution of geological surveying continues at a rapid rate; ten years ago, BGS began experimenting with 3D geological modelling and today, this forms the basis of our future mapping strategy. We will demonstrate how BGS geologists use traditional geological maps and cross sections to capture the three-dimensional nature of geology. Modelling geology in 3D brings its own set of challenges; of particular importance is that the quality of geological interpretations is dependent on the amount (and quality) of data available. As we obtain more data we are able to improve our understanding of the subsurface and thus geological models are unlikely to be static like the geological map may appear to be, but rather a dynamic model in which new data can be added. BGS realise that this is an enormous task and so are exploring the possibility that geologists in the geoscience community may, in the future, contribute to the National Geological Model. This talk will explain BGS ’ vision for how this will work; we’d very much appreciate your input.

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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