Conclusions and future developments

So far, the main achievements of this work are the following:

1. Creation of a three-dimensional environment, serving as a spatial integration tool, where multiple multi-scale geological datasets can be displayed, analyzed and represented within the Italian geologic and tectonic framework.

2. Regional to detailed 3D reconstructions.

3. Integration of multiple national geological databases and the promotion of the use of digital geological data.

4. Developing the “Transparent Earth” approach (promoted by International Year of Planet Earth) by adding the third dimension to traditional geological representations (maps and cross-sections).

The development of a 3D environment has allowed to join the detailed information contained in digital geological and geophysical databases with the strength of 3D visualization and modeling capabilities applied to the complex geological-tectonic setting of the Italian region.

The increasing availability of digital data supports the expansion of this approach towards the 3D geological modeling. Moreover the proposed multi-scale approach allows the user to access all the datasets, at any scale of observation, enabling an overview of geological and geophysical data, from detailed outcrops to regional.

This approach overcomes many limitations of traditional methods of representation and diffusion of geological data (maps and sections) promoting a more integrated and effective technique, that minimizes the loss of information and encourages a wider multidisciplinary interaction between geoscientists.

GeoIT3D is an open environment, containing 3D models built by SGI or obtained from other Italian research groups, providing all users the opportunity to communicate their knowledge, insights and interpretations, overcoming the more common discipline-oriented approach. Moreover future developments will include the possibility for the users to select the appropriate digital data to construct 3D models in specific area.