Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alfred University professor to discuss using Google to access geological field trips

The Alfred University Bergren Forum program opens the spring semester on Thursday, Jan. 26 with a talk by Otto Muller, geology professor, entitled “Moving Geological Field Trips into Google Earth.” The program begins at 12:10 p.m. in Nevins Theater, Powell Campus Center and is open to the public free of charge.
Muller will talk about his use of Google fusion tables to develop a Web accessible searchable database with geo-referenced data, for 55 years of field trips organized by the NYS Geological Association.
“The NYS Geological Association has been leading field trips around the state for nearly a century,” said Muller. “I have been translating their more recent Guidebooks into geo-referenced place marks which Google Earth can display.  I have completed those from 1956-70 and from 1980-85, and have over 3,000 place marks,” he added.

“As this project evolved, it became apparent that it would be desirable to have the ability to search various fields, and so the data were transferred into a Filemaker database,” explained Muller.  “Google developed a tool called Fusion Tables which facilitates manipulations of this kind of data, and so the data were transferred, again. During the talk I will briefly review this history and then demonstrate how the data can be accessed, filtered, downloaded and manipulated in other ways.”
Currently, Muller is involved in research concerning emplacement of igneous intrusions, interpretation of gravity data, and glacial and post-glacial geomorphology.
His teaching interests include earthquakes and volcanoes, elementary oceanography, field methods in geology, geochemistry, geology of Venus, geophysics, lunar geology, mineralogy and petrology, physical geology, sedimentation and stratigrapy, structural geology, tectonics, and the physical world.
Muller holds doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees, all from the University of Rochester.
The Bergren Forum, sponsored by the Alfred University Division of Human Studies and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, meets Thursdays during each academic semester at the University. Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch; coffee and tea will be available.

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