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September 22nd, 2010
Wacom Interactive Pen Display Technology Adds Precision and Speed to USGS Volcanic Mapping

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In an effort to map volcanoes and assess eruption risks, The United States Geological Survey (USGS) turned to Wacom interactive pen display technology to streamline GIS data updates and editing workflows. The Wacom pen display enables agency geologists to streamline, and in some cases eliminate, several steps in transferring data from paper maps where field observations from 13 principal volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade Range are recorded. One of the USGS’s main tasks in developing volcanic risk assessments is measuring lava and pyroclastic flows and slide deposits, as well as collecting samples for chemical analysis. Many of the Cascade volcanoes have the potential for eruption, including Newberry Volcano, Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. The massive explosion of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 underscored the importance of continuously monitoring high-threat volcanoes nationwide, from Yellowstone to Mauna Loa. Detailed maps are critical to this effort, and the integration of the Wacom interactive pen display into USGS workflows allows the geologists to quickly record field notations from paper maps directly into the GIS database.

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