Google Earth Grand Tour Themes
Abstract:As part of an NSF TUES Type 3 project entitled “Google Earth for Onsite and Distance Education (GEODE),” we are assembling a “Grand Tour” of locations on Earth and other terrestrial bodies that every geoscience student should know about and visit at least in virtual reality. Based on feedback from colleagues at previous meetings, we have identified nine Grand Tour themes: “Plates and Plumes,” “Rocks and Regions,” “Geology Through Time,” “The Mapping Challenge*,” “U.S. National Parks*,” “The Magical Mystery Tour*,” “Resources and Hazards,” “Planets and Moons,” and “Top of the Pops.” Themes marked with an asterisk are most developed at this stage and will be demonstrated in real time.
The Mapping Challenge invites students to trace geological contacts, measure bedding strike and dip and the plunge, trend, and facing of a fold. There is an advanced tool for modeling periclinal folds. The challenge is presented in a game-like format with an emphasis on puzzle-solving that will appeal to students regardless of gender.
For the tour of U.S. national parks, we divided the most geologically important parks into four groups—Western Pacific, West Coast, Rockies, and East Coast. We are combining our own team’s GigaPan imagery with imagery already available on the Internet. There is a great deal of imagery just waiting to be annotated for geological education purposes.
The Magical Mystery Tour takes students to Google Streetview locations selected by instructors. Students are presented with questions or tasks and are given automatic feedback. Other themes are under development. Within each theme, we are crowd-sourcing contributions from colleagues and inviting colleagues to vote for or against proposed locations and student interactions.
The GEODE team includes the authors and: Heather Almquist, Stephen Burgin, Cinzia Cervato, Gene Cooper, Paul Karabinos, Terry Pavlis, Jen Piatek, Bill Richards, Jeff Ryan, Ron Schott, Kristen St. John, and Barb Tewksbury.