Interoperability between the StraboSpot graph database and GIS software– A Malpais Mesa Use Case
University of Kansas
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been used by field geoscientists for decades to digitally collect data with several benefits: observations can be made in the field at a map independent scale while using multiple basemaps, the burdensome task of digitizing handwritten field notes and maps back in the office is eliminated, and the use of global positioning systems (GPS) has led to more precisely located observations. Despite the numerous advantages of using GIS in the field geosciences, the lack of agreement upon a standard schema for relational database management systems used in GIS along with new geospatial technologies and the popularization of mobile applications has led to the development of a novel geologic data management system, StraboSpot. StraboSpot consists of a mobile application available for Android and iOS devices for data collection and an online graph database for data storage, management, and sharing. The issue of schema creation has been solved with the development of a lexicon through contributions from the structural geology and tectonics, sedimentology, petrology, and microstructural communities and the utilization of a graph database for storage, which is schema-less by definition. Users of StraboSpot can collect, store, and share their geologic data, making it an all-in-one solution for geoscientists to publish their data using open source techniques. Data is stored in a users’ StraboSpot account which can hold multiple StraboSpot projects consisting of multiple datasets containing Spots. A Spot is a point, line, or polygon containing a set of observations over a user-defined spatial extent. The spatial extent of a Spot can be in real world coordinates (when set using maps or georeferenced aerial imagery), pixel coordinates (when set using a photo) or other systems as needed. Tags, “sticky-note”-like categories, can be used to conceptually group Spots. StraboSpot does not have the cartographic and analysis tools found in a GIS, so it became necessary to establish connections between StraboSpot and commonly-used GIS software, ArcGIS and QGIS. GIS connections – an ArcMap Add-In and QGIS Plug-In – have been designed and programmed which have download and upload capabilities with StraboSpot. Download or upload of a StraboSpot project and dataset occurs through deserialization/serialization and parsing of JSON (Java Script Object Notation) and GeoJSON transferred between the GIS and StraboSpot’s graph database via RESTful communications. I traveled to Malpais Mesa, Inyo County, CA in October 2016, accompanied by two other University of Kansas students working on StraboSpot, to beta test StraboSpot’s mobile app. Malpais Mesa was chosen due to the complexity of the area – it is situated in the Eastern California Shear Zone and the westernmost range of the Basin and Range province – which would adequately test for bugs in the mobile application and create robust StraboSpot data which I then used in the development of the GIS connections. Most importantly, it was an excellent location to compare the geoscientist’s workflow with the capabilities and structure/interface of StraboSpot. The interoperability between StraboSpot and the GIS connections provides users with a user-friendly and seamless method of downloading data collected in the field, performing various analyses such as running topology, and then uploading the “cleaned up” data for further use in StraboSpot. Geoscientists will also be able download all their StraboSpot data and create professional map products using the cartographic layout tools in GIS. The raw data behind those map products will be easily shared through StraboSpot leading to greater transparency, reproducibility, and reuse of geologic data.
- Geology Dissertations and Theses 
- Theses 
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