Collaborative Research: Broadening Community Use and Adoption of StraboSpot
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Within the geological community, collaboration through a shared database would facilitate discovery and new scientific breakthroughs. However, geological data has proven difficult to enter into digital formats, necessary for a shared database, because of the nature of the data itself and the varied and complex methods used to collect these data. The StraboSpot digital data system was designed to overcome these difficulties and allow data from the geological sciences to become more easily accessible to both scientists and citizens. The new work will allow for the development of new mobile user interfaces, allowing geologists to collect field data in ways that are efficient and go beyond what is currently possible in a paper notebook and map. The new application will also integrate data collected at the microscopic level, including information about rock composition. Finally, the data and interpretations will be made available through search capabilities that will use the StraboSpot data repository. The broader impacts of this work include the engagement of scientists to best develop ways to share the data they collect, and the easier access to this data for scientists and the public.As part of the development efforts in this project, various geologic communities will be involved in initial design and evaluation. Continued engagement of these communities through field trips, workshops, and student outreach help to identify three objectives that will improve the data system and will lead to wider adoption and use of StraboSpot. The objectives are to: 1) Develop new mobile user interfaces - determined by ongoing and future conversations with the communities - that will allow practitioners to collect field data in ways that are compelling, efficient, and go beyond what is currently possible in a paper notebook or on a paper map; 2) Incorporate petrological data into the micrograph/thin section component of the database, in addition to creating a desktop user interface that works seamlessly with data collected with analytical instruments (such as scanning electron microscopes); and 3) Design and implement interfaces and transfer protocols to efficiently extract information from the StraboSpot data repository. If successful, StraboSpot will impact all practitioners in the geological sciences, motivating new and innovative research.This award reflects NSF''s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation''s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.