Virtual Imaging as an Integrated Tool in Earth Science Research

Scott D. Rodgers and John Andrews
Bureau of Economic Geology
John A.& Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences
The University of Texas at Austin

With the continuing migration of research to computing environments and the use of new high-resolution remote sensing instruments, the value of visualization as an integrated tool in earth science research continues to grow. Visualization environments offer an efficient means for multi-disciplinary review and interpretation of data, especially the vast data sets and multiple versions resulting from downstream processing. Virtual imaging--the creation of virtual objects using stereoscopic visualization techniques--can further improve this process through enhanced recognition of features, the ability to combine multiple data sets in a single "virtual object," and the ability to actively manipulate data qualities to enhance or exclude specific characteristics. This overview demonstrates the application of advanced visualization to ongoing research at the Bureau of Economic Geology, including, among others, outcrop studies, coastal processes, aquifer modeling, and reservoir characterization.