Key words: GIS, Geological Mapping, Spatial Data, Distributed Computing, World Wide Web
The technology of geographic information systems (GIS) for collection, analysis, and viewing of spatial data and their properties has advanced rapidly, impacting traditional geological maps at all scales. The conventional approach of creating geological maps at certain scale seems to be changing, and is being replaced slowly by the principle of extraction of features and attributes - required on one level of generalisation or another - from the most detailed original information, together with the development of the computational tools like functions of thinning, resampling, and smoothing options for polylines and polygons.
The traditional creation of a global uniform database is considered to be very important, but traditional methods are not the only way. An alternative database is a digital map library (DML). This can be generated for particular areas as an important parallel source of different views and scientific approaches that can be readily used by a wide range of specialists with the help of fast and easy-to-use desktop mapping systems. This is also important with respect to working with features and attributes that vary in both space and time. Users may extract the data they need in current research, starting from the base geographic map, compare them, make a decision, add their own data, make changes, and finally, produce their own new map. Modern multi-layered maps can be developed producing an atlas containing, for example, buried shapes of objects of geological shears, additional paleogeographic information or, at least, a list of recommended relevant data accessible from the DML. Attention is paid to visualisation of different information on the map, like descriptions attached to spatial objects, images of rocks, key fragments of seismic lines, etc., using OLE Linking and Embedding, so that the final map appears like a complete report of the area.
Explanatory volumes for selected areas are prepared in Hypertext Mark-up Language in the form of a web site to make the GIS data available to the international community for scientific and educational purposes. Complementary raster-based animated sketch maps and three-dimensional models and sections are used to visualise spatio-temporal data when trying to make geology more understandable to the general public.