The "Digital Mapping and Research Laboratory" (DML), is primarily devoted to the success of graduate and undergraduate students using state of the art research facilities in combination with faculty and staff assistance and collaboration with other students.


There are two labs really. One is equipped and set up for teaching, with distance learning equipment for classes broadcast to Idaho Falls and Boise. This lab is available for all geology majors when not in use as a classroom. The other lab is laid out for research with workstations located around the room and with specialized software as needed for research for specific projects. Both labs were updated in 2010 with desktop computers and dual monitors. Software as required for specific projects is available on computers as well as Microsoft Office Suite, ArcMap, ENVI, Vulcan, etc.

There are printers, scanners, digital cameras, portable LCD projectors, laptops, GPS units and a large format printer for posters. Much of the equipment is avaiable for temporary check out by geology faculty and students as needed for classes, research, field trips and presentations.

There is a "drone" (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), a "CAVE" (computer assisted virtual environment), and an "Interactive Virtual Sandbox". These digital tools enhance and expand research and understanding. GPS, GIS, and remote sensing as well as traditional geologic mapping techniques are all employed in modern geologic and environmental research.

Geologic Mapping

Geologic Mapping

Graduate students produce geologic maps from start to finish using ESRI ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator with help from fellow students, faculty and staff. The Idaho Geological Survey offers most of these maps for sale once they are peer reviewed and assigned a publication number.



Students produced an Interactive Virtual Sandbox using open source software, a Micorsoft kinect and help from campus facilities carpenters to build the actual box and platform. It has been used in demonstrations to show topographic features in a three dimensional environment. Kids (of ALL ages!) love playing in the sand and changing the landscape.



The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) also known as a "drone", is being tested for agricultural research. This overhead, low altitude surveillance for better crop monitoring could become the wave of the future. Farmers can manage plant growth, isoloate diseases and insect infestations before they become a major problem.


"CAVE" -- a 3-D computer assisted virtual environment.

This is an immersive environment where projectors are directed to three or more walls inside a room size cube. The user wears 3D glasses inside the "CAVE" to see 3D generated graphics. This allows the user to enter their data and look at it in different perspectives.