An Exciting New Phase for The Paleointegration Project (PIP)
The Paleointegration Project (PIP) now provides extensive fossil and sedimentary rock databases that are searchable seamlessly from the GEON portal. This greatly facilitates studies of faunal and floral diversity, biogeography and climate through geologic time.
The previous set of interoperable PIP databases (sedimentary rock types, plants, and dinosaurs) was developed by Allister Rees and his team at the University of Arizona. The system was designed to ensure fast data retrieval, making it especially useful for extensive as well as multiple simultaneous searches (e.g. in a classroom environment). Text- and map-based searches enabled results to be downloaded for further detailed analyses, or else viewed on paleogeographic maps.
In this new PIP phase, close collaboration with John Alroy (The Paleobiology Database - http://paleodb.org/) and Chris Scotese (The Paleomap Project - http://www.scotese.com/) has resulted in significantly more data as well as tools being available via the GEON portal. The Paleobiology Database is an invaluable paleontological resource, comprising some 630,000 fossil occurrence records from 69,000 collections for the entire Phanerozoic. Essential to this latest PIP effort was a means to generate locality paleocoordinates ‘on the fly’, based on modern latitude and longitude as well as locality age. This was provided by Chris Scotese, enabling localities to be plotted automatically on his paleogeographic maps. Finally, the IT expertise of Ashraf Memon (SDSC) effectively brought all the components together.
The Paleointegration Project is proving useful to researchers, teachers and students interested in learning about the past life, geography and climate of our planet. Anyone can now access data and tools that were only available previously to specialists, thus facilitating geoscience discovery by removing many of the IT barriers. It’s an ambitious community-driven project that we envisage continuing to develop, with the addition of new datasets, tools and services. However, because it entails the use of disparate kinds of geologic data residing on different servers, embedded modules, web services, and GIS, there will undoubtedly be shortcomings (geological as well as computational) in this version. Please feel free to contact Allister Rees (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any comments and suggestions, or if you’re interested in collaborating.
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