Virtually Visiting the Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center

Dinosaur Nat. Mon. Quarry, near Jensen, Utah, June 5, 2005

Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see John Stodder’s blog post about the abrupt closing of the Dinosaur National Monument’s Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center. Because FHSU’s Geology Field Camp visits Dinosaur NM each May/June for our first major mapping project I was aware that the quarry visitor center building was in deteriorating condition and was slated to be closed for repairs in the near future. In fact, based on what I had learned last year about the building I had been expecting it to be closed this year and was pleasantly surprised not only that it was open, but that they had recently repaved the roads in this section of the park – it’s always good to see federal dollars flowing to the long neglected infrastructure of the National Park System. I imagine it’ll probably be a while before they reopen the building, so until that time I hope you’ll enjoy the cubic QTVR of the interior of the quarry building above and the Virtual Field Trip to Dinosaur National MonumentGoogle Earth Placemark that I recently put together that incorporates it.

Virtual Globetrotters

Group Photo, Flatirons behind us

Greetings from the first annual Virtual Globes Scientific Users Conference in Boulder, COGoogle Earth Placemark. If you thought Google Earth was the only player in the game, guess again. On the conference’s first day (Monday) Tim Foresman went through a history of Virtual Globes and introduced us to the International Society for Digital Earth. Following this we were introduced to the wide variety of virtual globes tools. Included were:

Two big name players with upcoming virtual globe software are ESRI (ArcGIS Explorer coming by the end of July? – Bart Killpack presented) and Microsoft (introduced by Rob Fatland of Microsoft – formerly Vexcel). ESRI will clearly differentiate their tools by their ability to interface with and process GIS data. What exact form MS’s VG will take or when it will be released was off limits for discussion, but it seems fairly clear they are genuinely in the globe game (not just flat maps) so stay tuned. These players will merit close scrutiny when they do release. Finally, conference organizer Matt Nolan presented EarthSLOT, based on tools created by Skyline Software.

Today’s presentations were user-oriented (full agenda here). I presented on “Integrating QTVR panoramas into Google Earth” which was a mix of material from my GSA talk last fall and a new Virtual Field Trip to Dinosaur National MonumentGoogle Earth Placemark that I recently put together.

P.S. Howdy Alan!

Speaking of dead pets…

Dead Horse Point, Utah, June 1, 2006

Overhang at Dead Horse PointAlthough I haven’t got any good dead pet stories to swap (there were a few goldfish, but we weren’t really close) I did just stitch together a cubic QTVR panorama of Dead Horse Point, Utah (above) taken during this summer’s FHSU Geology Field Camp. I didn’t realize until after I’d shot it that the ledge I was standing on was actually overhanging the 500 foot cliff – thankfully I didn’t feel the need to get all the way out to the edge and peer over. Here’s a Google Earth placemarkGoogle Earth Placemark for the panorama. Even with the terrain quality maxed out in Google Earth 4 Beta the cliff doesn’t drop off anything near as vertically as it does in real life. Nevertheless, the high resolution satellite imagery is good enough to pick out the low stone wall that I hopped to take the panorama – cool!