An Overview of New Technologies Applied to the Management of Geoheritage


In recent years, as in other spheres of activity, new technologies have gradually entered different phases of geoheritage management. The EDYTEM laboratory has led a technology watch and some experimentation, as part of a European LEADER programme, to better understand, test and develop the uses of these innovative practices in the field of geoheritage. This article presents a review of existing and emerging technologies in the depiction and interpretation of geosites. Three main topics are analysed in particular. First, the georeferencing and mapping of geoheritage, especially with recent developments in web mapping and mobile access to map data. Then, digital imaging (primarily 3D modelling based on techniques of photogrammetry), laser scanning or scan volume and also the real time observation of natural phenomena through a webcam. Finally, some experiments of interpretation of geoheritage using augmented reality, a process which enriches discovery through digital media, or virtual reality technologies that create a virtual universe with which one can engage. This paper shows that the diversity of practices, tools and experiences meets some basic needs: geolocation, geovisualisation, interpretation and understanding of the geosites. Finally, a discussion of the innovations inherent in the development of these practices, their interests and scopes allows us to put them into perspective with respect to their efficiency, reliability and appropriation by different users.

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I thank for their careful review and constructive comments Francoise Allignol, Christophe Lansigu, Simon Martin, Jean-François Missonnier, Daniel Obert, Amandine Perret and above all Robina Carton to have improve the translation of this text.

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Correspondence to Nathalie Cayla.

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Cayla, N. An Overview of New Technologies Applied to the Management of Geoheritage. Geoheritage 6, 91–102 (2014).

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  • Geotourism
  • Geoheritage
  • Webmapping
  • Smartphone
  • Photogrammetry
  • Laser scanning
  • Scan volume
  • Augmented reality
  • Virtual reality