Table 1. 

An illustration of the scale ranges of geological fieldwork and digital equivalents

Mapping typeReconnaissanceRegionalStandard*Detailed
Typical map scale1:250 000 or smaller1:100 000–1:50 0001:25 000–1:10 0001:10 000 or larger
Traditional methodsRemote sensing, photogeology, ‘blind’ spot sampling (e.g. using helicopter)Appropriate scale base maps or aerial photographs, or simplified 1:10 000 field slips1:10 000 field slipsPlanetabling and Cairn mapping
Geospatial abstractionVery high implicit in sampling strategy prior to fieldworkHigh in field and also during cartographyMedium levels of abstraction in the field; captures some outcrop structureVery little abstraction; can capture the entire outcrop
Typical wavelength (of structures)>105 m102–105 m102–104 m10−3–103 m
Digital equivalentsRemote sensing, aerial photographyDigital elevation models, digitized maps and GPS-referenced data collectionDigital elevation models and GPS or DGPS-referenced data collectionReal-time kinematic GPS, laser scan, etc. (see text for details)
  • *This refers to normal UK practice, which corresponds to BGS standard surveying and university undergraduate projects.