Seminar: The digital transition of geoscience fieldwork

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Seminar: The digital transition of geoscience fieldwork
Friday 18th March, 15:00, online and in presence (room B2)
Department of Science, Università Roma Tre
Prof. Stefano Tavani (Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e delle Risorse - Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)
PiRATES (PhD at uni RomA Tre in Earth Sciences and friends) seminar series

Major advances in smartphones and tablets in terms of their built-in sensors, computational power and on-board memory are transforming the role of such devices into the key digital platform around which geological fieldwork is redesigning itself. This digital transition is changing how geoscientists collect and share multimodal-multidimensional field datasets, which can now be readily distributed via standardized exchange formats and online data repositories.

The increased accessibility of digital field datasets means that such data products are no longer the sole preserve of geospatial/geoscience specialists, but also students, stakeholders and the general public alike, providing great opportunities for knowledge transfer over the entirety of the research value chain. In particular, smartphone based close-range remote sensing technologies such as LiDAR and digital photogrammetry, are creating ever greater opportunities to document, analyze and interpret geology exposed at the Earth's surface. These developments act as a complement to classical fieldwork approaches, providing a means to efficiently extract quantitative data from rock exposures.

Moreover, such technologies represent valuable tools to improve the accessibility of outcrop data within geoscience education, and have become instrumental towards the delivery of field courses during the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis. In particular, multi-sensor portable devices are allowing geoscience practitioners to embrace new, efficient and readily accessible modes of data collection, storage, and sharing. Mobile platforms are becoming an essential part of conventional fieldwork, acting as digital notebooks capable of adding metadata (e.g. geotags and photographs) to observations garnered in the field. The ability to document field observations in a more exhaustive fashion using such tools minimizes the need and associated risk related to undertaking multiple visits to remote and poorly accessible locations to collect missing field data.