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Tri-State Skeptics: Dylan Ward High Definition 3D Geology

If you registered on the Skeptics page, no need to do it here. 

We are happy to be reunited with our original sponsor NOVA on PBS, who are promoting their recent mini-series "Making North America". In honor of NOVA's geology-themed programming, we've invited local geologist Dylan Ward to speak about his innovative research using 3D computer mapping technology.

If this is your first time at one of our events, you should know that we meet at 6pm for dinner/conversation. The speaker begins at 7pm. We always end with Q&A (and prizes this time)!


The study of Earth’s surface and the processes that shape it requires digital topographic data (commonly, digital elevation models, or DEMs). These DEMs are conventionally derived from topographic maps or satellite imagery. The spatial resolution of routinely available DEMs is on the order of 10 meters, leaving important topographic features, such as stream beds, landslide scarps, and rockfall debris unresolved. For superior (meter-to cm-scale) resolution in local studies, expensive solutions such as detailed surveying, or terrestrial or airborne LiDAR (laser ranging) have been required. A new alternative, structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry, takes advantage of computer image processing to rapidly reconstruct 3D space from a set of standard digital photographs of a scene or object. This new technology rivals laser scanners in its precision, at a fraction of the cost, and requires no specialized or bulky equipment. It is opening the door for rapid, ad-hoc topographic surveying and change detection on small-scale landforms at high resolution, even in hard-to-reach locations. Dr. Ward will discuss the SfM method, with examples of its application in his ongoing research projects in Chile, Utah, Colorado, and the greater Cincinnati area. ******************************************

Dr. Ward studies the physical and chemical processes of erosion that shape landscapes. He uses computer models and high-resolution topographic data to understand how distinctive landforms emerge from the interaction between climate and the materials of the Earth's surface. He employs a variety of tools such as cosmogenic nuclide dating and thermochronometry to determine the pace of landscape evolution. His areas of specialty include glacial and fluvial geomorphology, but he also pursues research on tectonic geomorphology and on the effects of material properties (i.e., rock type) on geomorphic processes. Dr. Ward maintains a keen interest in escarpments developed in layered rock as natural laboratories for the study of transient landscapes. He earned his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Colorado, and currently performs research throughout the continental United States, to Alaska, Hawaii, and the Chilean Andes.

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  • Pam R.

    Anyone going from the Norwood, Ohio area?

    January 19, 2016

23 went

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