International Geologiical Congress - Oslo 2008


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IEE-05 Geoscience education for the 21st century


GIS education in geology: Methodology, tools and applications


Alexandra Zervakou, Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (Greece)
Konstantinos Koutsopoulos, National Technical University of Athens (Greece)
Konstantinos Nikolakopoulos, Institute of Geology & Mineral Exploration (Greece)


It is widely known that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) constitute a very powerful tool, providing the ability of collection, storage, management, processing, analysis and visualization of digital spatial data.
Over the last decades, GIS are dynamically presented in the scientific field of Geology. Remote sensing data is combined with geological databases in order to provide up to date geoinformation. This scientific ? technological development creates the conditions for systematic education of geologists, university students or professionals, focusing on the fundamental principles of GIS, their methods, processes and applications in Geology.

Up to today, the education of students of Geology on GIS issues is considered to be insufficient. More specifically, the major problems that emerge through the educational process are summarized as the followings:

1. Students dedicate a lot of time in learning a specific GIS software and minimum time in comprehending the principles and methological framework of GIS.
2. GIS are mainly used for the production of surfaces and maps and less for applications regarding management and analysis spatial issues.

3. A high dependence of students from a particular GIS software is observed, resulting in serious problems when graduated geologists enter the labour market and they are obligated to confront with another unknown GIS software.

All mentioned above demonstrate the need for the design and implementation of an up to date integrated educational methodological framework - material based on modern tendencies, such as interoperability and open systems, independent from market software.

This material should be comprised of theoretical and practical lectures in order to cover sufficiently issues relating with GIS principles, methodology and applications. The educational process taking into account the GIS methodogical framework should cover the following topics:

1. Fundamental principles of GIS
2. Data input
3. Data management
4. Data analysis
5. Data visualization
6. Dissemination of geological information via internet: electronic map, web applications.
7. Special topics
The practical part of the educational material should entail a range of exercises and case studies focusing on presenting to students whatever is analyzed in the first theoretical part. Some examples are:
1. Geological study in a specific area..
2. Landslide ? soil erosion risk assessment.
3. Estimation of underground water situation - geographic distribution aiming at its rational use and management.
To close, the main derived conclusion is that:
"The GIS is characterized as an open system as it does not entail a specific content or subject. Any attempt to design and implement an educational material must be concentrated on showing to the users - geologists the guidelines and useful tools, in order to enable them to form their own geographic - geologic model by entering each time the needed data for the solution of the existing problem".<


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