StraboSpot is a geologic data system that allows researchers to digitally collect, store, and share both field and laboratory data. StraboSpot is based on how geologists actually work to collect field data; although initially developed for the structural geology research community, the approach is easily extensible to other disciplines. The data system uses two main concepts to organize data: spots and tags. A spot is any observation that characterizes a specific area, a concept applicable at any spatial scale from regional to microscopic. Spots are related in a purely spatial manner, and consequently, one spot can enclose multiple other spots that themselves contain other spots. In contrast, tags provide conceptual grouping of spots, allowing linkages between spots that are independent of their spatial position.
The StraboSpot data system uses a graph database, rather than a relational database approach, to increase flexibility and to track geologically complex relationships. StraboSpot operates on two different platform types: (1) a field-based application that runs on iOS and Android mobile devices, which can function in either Internet-connected or disconnected environments; and (2) a web application that runs only in Internet-connected settings. We are presently engaged in incorporating microstructural data into StraboSpot, as well as expanding to include additional field-based (sedimentology, petrology) and lab-based (experimental rock deformation) data. The StraboSpot database will be linked to other existing and future databases in order to provide integration with other digital efforts in the geological sciences and allow researchers to do types of science that were not possible without easy access to digital data.