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National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program



Geologic Mapping Field Methods

Geologists traditionally record in field notebooks their observations, including sketches, measurements (for example, the angle of tilted strata), and narratives. The validity of these observations remains; however, digital photographs now frequently supplement sketches, and instrumentation enhances measurement accuracy (for example, more precise locations are possible with a global positioning system instrument than with simple reference to position in relation to topographic and cultural features). Increasingly, field narratives are written and organized on a notebook computer or a personal digital assistant (PDA).

The development of field systems for recording and managing information has accelerated in the past 10 years. It is expected that the most useful systems will be widely adopted, thereby helping to standardize the techniques and formats for field observations. Increasingly, geologists not only are recording field observations but also are making field interpretations of the position of features such as geologic contacts and faults (that is, "drawing lines") using rudimentary GIS software on PDAs or notebook computers.

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Related Information

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