Here is a useful tool to explore over the weekend. A reader pointed me to the OneGeology Portal, a web map application that serves out 1 million plus scale (mostly) geology maps, country wise.
The portal is an initiative by various geological survey's to share digital geological data via a common web platform. The data is housed in contributing countries data servers and shared via a distributed web service.
Here is what the interface looks like.
It is very easy to navigate. You can't directly download actual spatial data..for that you have to contact the data owners. But you can save a KML file and then import that in some other web service like Google Earth. Or you can save a Web Map Context - which saves pointers to the layers you have displayed as an XML file - and import that as an overlay the next time you go online. That way the configuration of layers you have opened in one session can be saved. You can also copy and share the URL of the data server to use in some other mapping application like Google Earth or NASA World Wind. That allows you to mix your geological map with other non-geological data you may have stored elsewhere.
..sigh...... India has not contributed.. Afghanistan and Yemen have their data up but India doesn't. The Geological Survey Of India (GSI) has digitized geological data but is not.. how shall I put it... "into" data sharing as proactively as it should. For those interested, India geology data is available for viewing through the India Biodiversity Web Mapping application which I rank as the best public domain natural resources web mapping app in India. Someone has gone through the trouble to collate, digitize and upload that data, curiously with the permission of the GSI..one hopes the GSI takes a cue and develops its own data sharing infrastructure soon.
The OneGeology program is being administered by the British Geological Survey while the web mapping service is being hosted by the French Geological Survey.