The STRATAFORM GIS: Interactive Exploration in 2 and 3 Dimensions


STRATAFORM was a multi-year, multi-investigator, interdiscplinary (holistic) program funded by the Office of Naval Research and aimed at developing an improved understanding of the geologic processes that are responsible for the formation of the shelf and slope sedimentary record over a continuum of scales. Much of the field work for this program was done on the highly sedimented, tectonically active, Eel River margin off Northern California. In the course of the five years of study of the Eel River Margin, an immense data base of marine information including physical oceanographic time series, single and multichannel seismic data, physical property data from cores, detailed bathymetry, backscatter, bottom photos, and a number of other parameters was collected. This database is remarkable not only for its volume, but also for its diversity. Each of these disparate data sets provides a glimpse of at least one component of the complex system responsible for generating the strata of the continental margin, but only through their integration can real insight be gained. In response to the need of all investigators to understand the inter-relationships amongst these data sets (and particularly our own research goal of using remotely derived data sets like acoustic backscatter to understand the distribution of lithologies and seafloor processes) we have taken advantage of modern Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and created a fully georeferenced data set of 64 layers that can be interactively explored. Once each layer is fully georeferenced and all geodetic corrections (projections, datums, etc) applied, we can interactively select, explore, retrieve, and display, the data sets in any combinations we desire. For example we can easily look at the relationship between sediment porosity as measured on cores (or many, many other parameters) and acoustic backscatter. We have also extended the ability of the standard GIS environment to allow us to not only import data layers but to link these layers to the actual data sets (i.e. down-core property plots or even seismic data). Many of the complex inter-relationships demonstrated in the Eel River Basin are a function of the 3-dimensional geometry and thus we have also developed a true 3-D environment for this data base so that we can interactively explore inter-property relationships in the complex framework of the 3-D morphology. Finally we are exploring ways to deliver all of the extended functionality of our 2-D and 3-D GIS, over the web. Needless to say - this will be a computer based presentation.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union (AGU)




Fall Meeting, Supplement

Conference Date

Dec 10 - Dec 14, 2001

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding