Dr Mike J Smith
Planetary Geosciences, Geological Society
I've just spent a couple of days at the Geological Society in Picadilly at a conference on Planetary Geosciences. As a side note, the GS has the original (very large!) William Smith geological map of England and Wales. Its the first ever geology map of any country and was published in 1815. Because of decoration work its been on full display in the lower library; rather pleasant during coffee!!
Anyway, for "geosciences" read "geology". However the breadth of the conference was much much wider than this. Dave Rothery (OU) should be congratulated on putting together a good conference package that was thorough, complete and relaxing! And whilst geology was clearly the major theme, there were delegates from remote sensing, GIS, astro-biology, astronomy and technology. The keynote speech was given by Steve Squyres (Cornell and PI on the Marsr Exploration Rovers), as well as talks from science teams on sensors such as C1XS, MIXS and ExoMars PanCam. Somewhat gratifying from my perspective was the continual use (and requirement) for topographic data from many speakers (e.g. Lionel Wilsoin, Lancaster, on magma venting dikes). DEMs are now central to many process studies, with MOLA taking central stage for planetary work. However we are starting to see much HRSC data coming on tap (thanks to some of the work from Jan-Peter Muller's team) as well as the promise of HiRISE data.
My own talk (audio and slides) was a broad review on GIS and how data, software and technology are converging such that there is increasing usage within planetary geosciences. However there are still barriers to "entry" so that many remain unable to use GIS. I finished up with the suggestion that, if it didn't already exist, a GIS Special Interest Group might well be a good idea. Something I hope to follow-up (although feel free to comment).