Entries from February 2014 ↓

Sabbatical report – Weeks 5 and 6

Two weeks are combined here, since week 5 was short.  I attended a Board of Trustees meeting in Denver

Huge breakthroughs were made with the software interfaces on the touch table.  Nearly all of the Ryan data were successfully brought into both Google Earth and The Layered Earth.  The folks at the Spitz Institute and Simulation Curriculum provided me with detailed and elegant ways of adding KML/KMZ data to TLE.  Google Earth Pro is able to import spreadsheets with position data.  I now have points on the touch table that show locations of the  Ryan Museum specimen for the US.  Furthermore, I am able to show geology at many different levels of detail, draped on the topography with the sample locations.  The USGS online map catalog is the Mother Lode of KML geology!  Virtual field trips are now a reality.

Caveats:  While the breakthroughs are huge, I am running up against data limitations.  Nearly all  of the  specimens do not have exact positions but instead have general area localitions, e.g., Missouri or Pakistan.  The simple resolution will be assigning the sample position to the center of the  locality.  In other words any sample from Missouri will be plotted right in the middle of the state temporarily.  I have centroid data of every state and country in the world and am nearly done tying the position data to localities.

Heavy lifting next:  1) get all the specimens plotted, 2) start better location resolution of the specimen using other data like age, mines, etc., 3) proofing all of the data, and 4) interface development and refining.

On the horizon: The guestbook, Museum locations and images, external links to more information, such as webmineral.com.

Whew, do I have enough to do?




Sabbatical report, Week 4

I am very familiar with Microsoft Excel from many years of drill hole and geochemical data analysis work.  But I really learned to appreciate the more subtle tricks for combining many disparate data sets into a common data set during the last week.   At this time, there are two data sets, one each for fossils and minerals.  I wrestled with combining all the data into a single data set, but found that minerals and fossils have just enough data type differences  make the single data set idea not particularly workable.  For example, fossils often have a detailed Linnaen classification and environmental association, whereas minerals tend more toward structural description.  However, both data sets have a common unique identifier field for joining and linking purpose.

Ryan Museum minerals and fossils each have their own specific existing data styles.  ASU fossil collections, mineral collections, and the Wards Scientific sets also have their own specific existing data styles, often in multiple formats and organization styles.  I have many of my own personal ore deposit mineral suites, which yet again have numbering and data organization schemes different than all of the other collections!

I made progress this week on developing a map-based guest book, with the help of Brad Sosusco.  We experimented briefly with various map engines and forms to allow guests to sign in, and have a map pin appear at their home town.

New LED shelf lights are ready to be installed.  The older, hotter, and more energy-intensive halogen lights are stacked up and off line.

The TLE, GEPro, and ArcGIS technology is in place.  The underlying mineral and fossil data are in place.  The Ideum touch table is in place.  The next crux is the spatial connection among everything.  I believe all the pieces are in place.

Back to the catacombs…