Building digital maps of Utah fossils and rocks

Faculty Name:
Kathleen Ritterbush

Geology & Geophysics

Faculty College:
Mines & Earth Sciences


Project Description:

We are transforming traditional published maps & rock diagrams into an interactive digital tool to display 3D & 4D representations of ocean environments and fossil distribution. We will build a flexible database of spatial and geological information from maps, articles, and guidebooks. We will program scripts to query this database and produce maps of rocks and fossils found throughout Utah at different times in Earth history. The new software should be simple and flexible for use with advanced future research projects.

Opportunity Type:

Volunteer, Earn independent study credit; Prepare a UROP proposal; Write an Honors Thesis

Student Role:

Student(s) will devise strategies to represent traditional resources in flexible data frameworks. Student(s) will design software to query the data to make maps/visualizations

Student Benefits:

Experience designing & programming software; exploring Utah geology/paleontology; discover/test hypotheses about past life/environments; interdisciplinary collaboration.

Project Duration:

Tool development will span the 2015/16 academic year, but can be extended depending on student ingenuity and commitment. The target is for 1-3 students each working 5-10 hrs/w

Minimum Requirements:

Computer science experience OR geology interest. At least one student with experience in R, Python, MySQL, GIS, or equivalent. At least one student interested in Utah geology.