Tephra profiles and time: A four-dimensional extension to tephrabase
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This research paper details the rationale and process behind the conception, construction, and implementation of a suite of GIS tools for the Tephrabase scientific database and research tool hosted by the School of Geosciences at The University of Edinburgh. This project is unique in both scope and nature, combining the age old geographical technique of stratigraphy with cutting edge distributed computing technology to breathe new life into tephrochronology. A series of tephrochronological techniques are identified which can only benefit from an upgrade from the analogue to digital domain, and a strategy for their implementation is both formulated and executed. An undertaking to ensure GIS functionality remains accessible to both expert and non expert users is adhered to throughout, and an efficient use of multi layered data storage, query, and processing techniques ensures a rapid turn around of user data requests. Processed data is made available for download in a number of standards compliant formats, and preliminary testing and feedback suggests that the Tephrabase Geographical Information System extension will provide a useful and welcome addition to the tephrochronologists toolkit.