Geology and Geological Engineering

Dr. Maribeth Price
Geospatial Technology
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Dr. Maribeth H. Price

Ph.D. (1995), Princeton University
Geology and Geological Engineering
South Dakota School of Mines
Rapid City, SD 57701
phone 605-394-2468

Research synopsis

Making maps and analyzing spatial information are fundamental skills for all earth scientists, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing are important tools in any earth science toolkit. Teaching earth scientists how to integrate these tools into their daily work, and devising new and better ways to help them understand this technology, is my ongoing passion. Mastering ArcGIS, a textbook for introductory GIS, is being released in its 7th edition in February, 2015.

We are exploring the use of close-range photogrammetry, or the science of creating 3D-imagery from multiple overlapping photos taken from different viewpoints. Processing the images produces a point cloud of x-y-z locations which can then be colored using the photographic images to produce a photorealistic 3D model of an object or a high-resolution digital elevation model and orthorectified imagery of a site. The camera may be hand-held, mounted on a pole, or flown on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Applications under investigation include mapping paleontological quarries, creating detailed 3D models of specimens for museum archives, and measuring erosion rates on dig sites.

Another focus area is water quality in western Pennington County, SD. A current project is sampling water from private wells to explore the occurrence of arsenic, iron, sulfate, nitrate, and bacteria in the Precambrian core of the Black Hills, an area with extensive historical mining. Funded by the West Dakota Water Development District, we are finding that arsenic is a problem in about 30% of the wells sampled. We are using GIS throughout the project, from using smartphones to collect our field data to storing and analyzing the data in a geodatabase. We have produced report cards for the different constituents sampled in 2013, and are extending the sampling area through 2014-2015.

Miscellaneous GIS and spatial analysis projects are also under way, including:

  • Map of the Museum of Geology Collections (2013-2016)
    Creating a GIS map for the Museum of Geology Collections Floor The completed map will aid in management of the collections.

  • Geology and Paleontology of the Western Interior Seaway (2012-present)
    Compiling and serving GIS data sets for research on the Western Interior Seaway. Maps,papers, and general data to support ongoing research.

contact: Dept. of Geology and Geological Engineering, 501 E. Saint Joseph St., SDSMT, Rapid City, SD 57701
phone: (605)394-2468 / fax: (605)394-6703 / email: