Information Systems (GIS) and the Denver Basin Project
cartographer (map maker) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
specialist for the Denver Basin Project creates maps about the Denver
Basin from the data uncovered by the projects scientists.
These maps will be included in various manuscripts and presentations
written by the scientists, and some will be available on this Web
will be used directly by the scientists for research purposes. The
GIS specialist will produce base maps on which the scientists can
record the locations of data or specimens they gather in the field.
These maps will then be returned to the GIS laboratory and the data
from them entered into the GIS computer. Geographic information
systems use special GIS software, which links map objects, such
as fossil sites, river systems, and surface geology areas, to a
database that provides information about each map object. GIS then
allows the layering of different types of map data to create map
displays that allow previously unseen spatial patterns to emerge.
The Denver Basin scientists will use the maps created to make analyses
from these patterns. Types of analyses might include the prediction
of the extent of different types of bedrock geology, or the thickness
of the geology itself, the location of the K-T (Cretaceous-Tertiary)
boundary, and the types of depositional environments present at
different times for specific localities.
is the science behind making maps and spatial analysis. Geography
looks at what is where and why. It asks the questions, why are certain
things near each other or farther apart, and how do they, or have
they, influenced each other? Geography helps to bring together the
various disciplines of the earth sciences by asking these questions.
GIS is an exciting and fairly new technological tool from the field
of geography that automates the making of maps and increases the
interpretive spatial analyses that can be done with them.