Making it easy to connect - enabling university students to continue their geoscience education during the COVID-19 pandemic

19 Mar 2020

Field trips are an integral part of geoscience education, however, due to the COVID-19 crisis these are being postponed as Universities stop face to face teaching and remote teaching becomes the new norm. But this doesn’t mean the education of our up and coming geologists needs to stop altogether – RPS have found a way to continue our support of the student’s education.

RPS developed the ‘Outcrop Reference Database’ of 3D models and outcrop images from around the globe. This searchable database of reference materials includes examples of sedimentological, structural and stratigraphic features. Originally the RPS training team created this database to supplement classroom and field course training when the ‘real thing’ wasn’t practical when inclement weather prevented safe viewing of key outcrops.

And as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, we’ve found another practical use for the database and are now supporting university students continue their studies providing complimentary access – thus alleviating the challenge of finding outcrop-based exercises to support geoscience training.

One of the first universities to benefit from access to the database is the University of Glasgow.

Commenting, Dr Stuart Archer, Chief Geoscientist at RPS said that “Although virtual field trips can never replace the real thing, our outcrop analogue database can be deployed usefully to assist universities in these exceptional circumstances.

Dr Amanda Owen, Lecturer in Earth Sciences, saidThis is obviously a trying time for all, but I cannot praise enough the way in which the geological community has rallied around to help one another. The University of Glasgow Geology degree programme would like to particularly acknowledge the provision of the Outcrop Reference Database provided by RPS, who’s digital outcrops are an excellent learning resource that will allow students to retain as best as possible important skills and learning outcomes while they are unable to go into the field themselves.

To view samples from the database, visit



Gary Nichols

Head of Technical Development, Training T: +44 (0)1635 248910 Email

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