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William Smith Meeting 2015 (Part 2) - 200 Years and Beyond: The Future of Geological Mapping

05 November 2015
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Event type:
Conference, Lecture
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, William Smith Bicentenary
Geological Society, Burlington House, London
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In 1815 William Smith published the first edition of his Geological Map of England and Wales.  Smith’s map made a seminal contribution to the understanding of the ground beneath our feet and, by showing the location of coal, iron ore, clays and other raw materials, helped fuel the industrial revolution. Two hundred years on, the demands for spatial knowledge about our geological environment and its resources and hazards become ever more pressing.

The first William Smith Meeting in April 2015 chronicled the history and development of the geological map from its earliest beginnings to the digital maps of today. The second William Smith Conference looked at the future of geological mapping, and opened with a keynote by Professor Iain Stewart on the grand challenges for geoscience that will motivate the ‘William Smiths’ of tomorrow. The conference showcased the new science, technologies and information systems that are changing and broadening the whole concept, purpose and impact of geological mapping. A concluding panel discussion focused on the skills and roles of the field geologists of the future.

The meeting was followed by an evening lecture that took geological mapping to the next frontier – planetary geology.

Key themes and topics included:

  • What is ‘geological mapping’ in the modern age of digital information and geological models?
  • What are the future demands for spatial geological data and knowledge? How will these vary across emerging and developing economies? What will the geological map of tomorrow look like?
  • How will the digital revolution shape how we present, visualise and communicate geological knowledge? What new technologies are emerging in digital mapping, geophysics, earth observation and modelling?
  • How do we integrate these with field-based geological observations and interpretation? What skills will be needed by the field geologists of the future? Do we still need to teach students how to map, and why?

Keynote speakers included:

  • Iain Stewart (Plymouth University)
  • Mike Stephenson (BGS)
  • Gerold Diepolder (Bavarian Environment Agency)
  • Conall Mac Niocaill (University of Oxford)
  • David Evans (Durham University)
  • David Rothery (Open University)

Programme and abstract book

Download the PDF abstract book for further details about the conference programme and speaker abstracts.

Convenors (British Geological Survey

Andy Howard, Leanne Hughes, Jim Riding, Sam Roberson, Wayne Shelley, Jackie Swift

The first 2015 William Smith Meeting was on 23 - 25 April 2015. Visit the Past Meeting Resources page for more information.


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