Caroline Rose, a geographic information system (GIS) specialist at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, has a knack for data visualization that makes her co-workers say, “Oh, wow. Now I see what they mean!”
Caroline combined her aptitude for illustration with her web design skills in one of the Survey’s data preservation projects: the Lake Superior Legacy Collection website.
The website provides online access to geologic research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1882 and 1922. Users can search through 30,000 rock samples using an interactive map, browse 13,000 thin sections (microscope slides made from rock slivers), and read about the history of the collection in over 300 scanned notebooks.
Thanks to Caroline, the visual presentation of the Lake Superior Legacy Collection is engaging and informative. “The website is visually appealing as well as functional. It’s pretty!” said Carol McCartney, the project principal investigator.
One of the goals for the website was to describe the historical context of the materials. Caroline remarked that the scanned field notebooks can offer a historical perspective on familiar places: “I have done a lot of canoeing in the Boundary Waters area of northern Minnesota. Reading field notes from 1883 was a window into the history of a place that I know well.”
Work on this project was funded by the US Geological Survey’s National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP) with matching funds and technical support from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.