Global Mapping Project Reveals Earth Stripped of Plants, Buildings and Other Surface Features

Have you ever wondered what our world would look like stripped bare of all plants, soils, water and man-made structures? Wonder no longer: images of the Earth as never seen before are being unveiled by the world’s biggest ever geological mapping project.

Earth and computer scientists from 79 nations are working together on a global project called OneGeology to produce the first digital geological map of the world on the internet. This project is doing the same for the rocks beneath our feet that Google does for maps of the Earth's surface.

The resulting 'patchwork quilt' means that crucial data will be available for:

  • Finding natural resources
  • Planning for hazards
  • Monitoring impacts of climate change
  • Managing waste
  • Storing carbon

To achieve this, a new web language has been written for geology which allows nations to share data with each other and the public. The know-how to do this is being exchanged so that all nations across the world, regardless of their development status, can take part and benefit.

OneGeology is supported by UNESCO and six other international umbrella bodies and is the flagship project for UN International Year of Planet Earth 2008.

The scientists leading this project will be presenting the results of their work to the 33rd International Geological Congress in Oslo, Norway on 6 August 2008.

Speakers will include:

Ian Jackson, Chief of Operations at the British Geological Survey, and coordinator of OneGeology.

François Robida, Deputy Head of Division, Information Systems and Technologies at the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, France.

John Broome, Acting Director of Data Management Division at the Geological Survey of Canada.

Harvey Thorleifson, Director of the Minnesota Geological Survey and Professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Minnesota.

Luca Demicheli, Secretary General of the Italian Commission for the International Year of Planet Earth (2007-2009) and incoming Secretary General of EuroGeoSurveys, the Association of the Geological Surveys of Europe.

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