A last question, also in essay format, asked “Are there any innovations in geoscience maps you would recommend?” Responses were included on 338 (31 percent) questionnaires. The nature of the responses was quite varied, but included few innovations; most responses stressed instead the respondents’ major concerns or problems regarding use, quality, availability, timeliness, or production of maps. The question was used by many as a vehicle for a general commentary related to geoscience maps, their production, or the geoscience profession in general.

Responses that did address the question fell into one or more of four categories:

  1. The need for additional high-quality (ground truth) data.

  2. A need for a ready and inexpensive means for data manipulation.

  3. Development of improved ways to portray and present map and map-based data.

  4. A ready means to determine where data reside and how they can be accessed.

In the first category, 23 responses stressed the need for new, high-quality, field-based, detailed, general-purpose geologic maps. A map standard referred to by several respondents as a standard to be attained is the USGS GQ-series maps. Several other responses stressed field-collected geologic data, but were less specific about what type of data. The need for increased accuracy (revision) was stressed in 16 responses.

In the second category, a need was indicated in 19 responses for computer-stored, easily retrievable, manipulable geoscience data. Ten more responses specified the storage and retrieval of geologic map data. Twenty-two responses indicated a need for computer/digitally produced maps.

In the third category, 17 respondents stressed the importance for improved geologic map formats, improved clarity of map presentation, and improved nature (better durability) of map base material. Nineteen respondents desired innovations in legible overlays to present a variety of geological and geophysical parameters. Fourteen responses indicated a need for improved means of three-dimensional data depiction, including the use of holography.

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