Collaborative Research: Geoinformatics: Development of Structural Geology and Tectonics Data System with Field and Lab Interface
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The main research task addressed in this project is to construct a Data System for StructuralGeology and Tectonics (SG&T). SG&T data are complex for a variety of reasons, including thewide range of temporal and spatial scales (many orders of magnitude each), the complex three-dimensional geometry of some geological structures, inherent spatial nature of the data, and the difficulty of making temporal inferences from spatial observations. To successfully implement the step of developing a SG&T data system, the principal investigators must simultaneously solve three problems: 1) How to digitize SG&T data; 2) How to design a software system that is applicable; and 3) How to construct a very flexible user interface.To address the first problem, the principal investigators introduce the "Spot" concept, which allows tracking of hierarchical and spatial relations between structures at all scales, and will link map scale, mesoscale, and laboratory scale data. A Spot, in this sense, is analogous to the beam size of analytical equipment used for in situ analysis of rocks; it is the size over which a measurement or quantity is applicable. A Spot can be a single measurement, an aggregation of individual measurements, or even establish relationships between numerous other Spots. They will implement both a Spot and a more traditional Mapping mode for data input. To implement these approaches into a software system, they will utilize a Graph database - as opposed to a Relational database - to better preserve the myriad of potentially complex relationships. A Graph design is ideally suited for the complex relations inherent in a SG&T data system. Finally, they will construct a user interface that is intuitive, open source, and spans as many operating systems and devices as possible. For these reasons, they will develop a web-application that can run in both a connected (on the internet) and disconnected mode.