Geological (or any GIS) data

We will be looking at real data, and a lot of it will be noisy ("messy").  One of the skills you will acquire is picking up the signal from the noise, or seeing how the real world gets transformed into the cartoons that you see in textbooks.  Sometimes the anomalies are interesting and reveal unique or unusual cases, and sometimes they just reflect normal quasi-random variability.

We will look at two kinds of data:

Data also has a scale.  Large scale data covers a small area with a lot of detail, while small scale data covers a large area with limited data.  On the computer it is very easy to show any data at any scale.  In particular you should pay attention to small scale data, which will look very generalized when you zoom in, and the locations will only be approximate.

When you talk about your work, you should cite the source of the data, because that is what is important.  The metadata should help you understand your data. The program you use is not critical; it is assumed that the program will do the right thing, and that you are competent to do the analysis.  MICRODEM would give very similar results as ESRI ArcGIS or QGIS; in some cases, one program might be faster, or easier to use, or supply some unique capabilities, but they will not make nearly as much difference in the final analysis as the actual data.  GIS is now a computer tool like a spreadsheet, and it is no longer exciting that you can do something with the GIS tool.  The important thing is what data you used, and what conclusions you can get from it.

Many geoscience data sets can operate like any GIS data set, and require no specialized code or operations to plot--they just need to symbolize based on an attribute.  Others, however, require specialized display options, which might not be easy in all GIS software.  Examples include:


Last revision 1/5/2018