Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Editors note: RockWare is a geological software company based in Golden, Colorado. Founded in 1983, RockWare develops a suite of earth science and mapping applications used across several industries and fields, including civil, environmental and geotechnical engineering.
As the early morning sun rises, we head into the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range to take some field measurements. The scenery is breathtaking: rusty-hued sandstone formations tilting at dramatic angles from the ground below. Studying the Earth’s natural history and uncovering the mysteries that lie beneath its surface is just another day as a RockWare geologist.
Using a GPS device and a few specialty tools, we move around the site and record the tilt of the rock formations. These data points don’t make much sense to the untrained eye. However, by plotting our data on a map, we can gain an intuitive three-dimensional understanding of the rocks and their orientation.
When we return to the office, we quickly import the data we recorded in the field into Google Earth Pro. The software produces interactive 3D visuals, which we can easily share with customers. At RockWare, we make extensive use of the Movie Maker feature, which allows us to animate complex events over time. For example, if a toxic spill is leaking into the water table, we can model the spread and speed of contamination. These animations help our clients understand the impact of these geological events and act accordingly.
We’ve seen a positive impact on sales and marketing, too. Google Earth Pro, in conjunction with RockWare’s software, gives us the tools to tell a client’s story through video, rather than just creating static maps and reports. With more dynamic ways to showcase our work, we’ve been able to advertise in a way we’ve never been able to do before. As a result, we’ve seen growth in our customer base via referrals and word-of-mouth.
Many of our customers already use Google Earth Pro in the office, which streamlines my job as a consultant. Instead of spending extensive time on product training, we can dive right into the project. Google has essentially created an environment where it's easy for RockWare and our clients to collaborate on geological projects, which simplifies the decision-making process.
Google Earth Pro brings our projects to life. It has not only contributed to RockWare’s business growth, it’s also reinforced my love for geology. Going out in the field, taking measurements, and actually being able see what I’m mapping makes my job that much more incredible.