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StraboSpot for Sedimentary Geology: Encouraging community involvement and feedback through workshops and fieldtrips
  • Marjorie Chan
Marjorie Chan
University of Utah

Corresponding Author:marjorie.chan@utah.edu

Author Profile


An NSF EarthCube-funded project supported a field-based workshop designed to evaluate and refine the sedimentology/stratigraphy portion of the StraboSpot digital data management system. Eleven academics attended the workshop, representing a spectrum of career levels and specialties. The participants teach classes in sedimentology and conduct sedimentary research, but had not used any previous digital mobile apps in the field. The field component focused on learning the basic functionality of the StraboSpot app as a method of collecting digital data in the field. On the first day, teams of 2-3 participants measured a stratigraphic section in a highly visited locality of the well-studied Book Cliffs of central Utah. Teams saw how the vocabulary and spot functionality worked to collect sedimentary field data and to generate stratigraphic columns. The second day was spent measuring a more complex mixed carbonate-clastic sequence in the San Rafael Swell (Utah). Half of the third day was spent in discussion on major issues with workflow/vocabulary and getting feedback on how to simplify and streamline descriptive data collection functions (stratal attributes), and reviewing the more challenging interpretation functions (processes, depositional environments, and architecture). A major discussion point was how best to handle data collection and stratigraphic plotting of ‘interbedded’ intervals. As a result of the workshop, we streamlined workflow options and refined portions of the vocabulary. This field testing followed up on two previous workshops that solicited expert advice to develop the program categories and basic vocabulary for the sedimentary community. Overall, workshop participants were enthusiastic about the potential of digital data systems, and the ability to link annotated photographs and sketches to georeferenced localities. All participants indicated they were inclined to use StraboSpot in both teaching and research, particularly with versatile and customizable options.