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Technology and Disruptive Technology Influences on Geoscience Application Development with an Aim to Improve 3D Spatial Cognition

Colin Dunlop, J. Ryan Shackleton, Roddy Muir, Alan Gibbs, and Gareth Johnson
Midland Valley Exploration, Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland, UK


Within the sphere of geoscience application development, hardware and software technology advances have brought beneficial influences to the Geology and Geophysics community. The producers (G&G software vendors) have leveraged these advances in the technology to provide better solutions to the technology consumers (G&G technical professionals).

The last real "disruptive technology" which changed the technical interpretation landscape and led to significantly  improved understanding was probably the introduction of 3D visualization on the desktop in the early 90's – 20 years hence. In the last 25 years, major advances in processing power, hard drive space, physical memory, 3D graphics, and a reduction in the physical size of computer hardware have made computers a primary tool in a G&G professionals' workflow. Similarly, increasing monitor sizes and more powerful computers allow the user to view larger and more detailed models, but haven't fundamentally changed the way humans interact with the machine.  Some attempts to adapt solutions to utilize our natural 3D spatial senses via immersion have been developed, but haven't seen widespread adoption. Examples include stereo glasses and fully immersive Caves that utilize head tracking and glove input devices to control applications using more natural human input gestures.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #120140© 2014 AAPG Hedberg Conference 3D Structural Geologic Interpretation: Earth, Mind and Machine, June 23-27, 2013, Reno, Nevada