Distinguished professor to speak on use of data in geology

Mon, 11/18/2013

LAWRENCE — Douglas Walker, Union Pacific Resources Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geology, will lecture on “Adventures in Digital Geology — Trying to Make the Long Tail Short” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union.

“If you spend the effort to package your data in a good way, in a way that can be shared, there is a lot of good that can come out of that,” Walker said. “Not just for you, but for everybody else.”

The lecture will focus on bringing digital techniques of all sorts into geology. This varies from collecting geologic data digitally in the field to putting data reporting into geoscientist’s workflow.

“The Long Tail” is a reference to a term commonly used by marketing strategists. The long tail theory is the idea of using a large database to sell smaller products. Prior to the usage of digital strategies, geologists had to rely on pencil and maps to draw their findings. Douglas has created and worked on databases so that geologists can easily and quickly gather information electronically.

Douglas’ most current research is working on systems that can be used interoperability, having them operate by putting together databases that are available to the public. This system leaves the opportunity for others to build entirely different systems that incorporate other data into it, making knowledge more accessible for all.



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