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William Smith Virtual Meeting 2021: Geological Mapping - of our world and others

19 - 21 October 2021
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Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Energy Group, Tectonic Studies Group, Geological Remote Sensing Group
Virtual event
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This is the William Smith Meeting originally scheduled to take place in October 2020. Please contact us at if you registered for the original meeting but have not yet been contacted about a change of booking or a refund.

We invite contributions from the international mapping community for this three day conference which will explore the historical importance of maps, as well as their role in the future of our subject.

Maps are fundamental to geology. They rely on methods of data collection and interpretation that were integral to some of the earliest discoveries in Earth sciences - as well as the latest breakthroughs. Consulting or creating a geological map is the starting point for most geological projects, from stratigraphic to structural, metamorphic to modelling.

Mapping underpins the assessment and exploitation of all of Earth’s resources, as well as the management and mitigation of natural hazards. Maps track changes in the state and character of the Earth’s surface to internal and external processes, such as climate or tectonics.

Geological mapping has always been more than a spatial catalogue of observable rock types and landforms on the Earth’s surface. Integrating geophysical data and imagery with geological maps has allowed us to infer the internal structure of the Earth. Satellite data helps us recognise and locate active faulting, earthquakes, and other shallow tectonic processes. Remote sensing allows us to record and map extra-terrestrial objects, extending our mapping repertoire further than our planet alone.

This year’s William Smith Meeting will be an international celebration of the breadth of geological mapping. We look to explore its historical importance, the principles at its core, and its value in understanding the geological evolution and processes taking place on Earth and beyond.

The convenors of this conference hope to explore new approaches and advances in geological mapping, as well as reflecting and building on lessons from the past. We invite those with an interest or experience in this field to submit an abstract on any of the themes outlined below.

Meeting Themes

  • The history of geological mapping and lessons learned
  • Case studies in geological mapping
  • Availability, compilations and use of maps
  • Maps and the big data revolution
  • Subsurface mapping – from 3D to 4D
  • Virtual outcrops, fieldwork, and new techniques
  • Experiences of doing fieldwork or mapping during pandemic-imposed restrictions
  • Mapping the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere in space and time
  • Extra-terrestrial mapping
  • Cognitive bias and uncertainty in mapping
  • Any other geological mapping topic or application 

Associated events


Registration for this virtual conference is open and available to all (Fellows and visitors).

If you need a VAT receipt please email with your registration details.

Registration Fees

The fees listed are for the full three day event (19-21 October 2021)

Fellow  £60 
Non-Fellow £80 
*Other Societies member
Corporate Affiliates £65 
Speaker £45 
Student (Non- Fellow) £25 
Retired Fellow £25
Student Fellow  £0 

*Other Societies include the following: AAPG, AIPG, GSA, NGWA SEPM and GAC

Student members can attend this event free of charge, however must register to attend. If you would like to make a donation to support our charitable activities, we would sincerely appreciate your generosity.

One day event fees are also available. Please contact for further details and prices.

Call for abstracts

Please submit your abstract for a talk or poster using this link by Thursday 15 July 2021. Abstracts should be approximately 250-350 words and include a title and acknowledgement of authors and their affiliations.

Confirmed keynote speakers & topics

• Opening remarks and reflections by John Dewey (University College, Oxford)
• Kathryn Stack (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA) Geologic Mapping and the Search for Signs of Ancient Life in Jezero Crater with NASA’s Perseverance Rover
• Marc St-Onge (Geological Survey of Canada) Rocks Are Us: 179 years of geological mapping, technological innovation and scientific advancement by the           Geological Survey of Canada
• Karen Hanghøj (British Geological Survey) The future of Geospatial information for the UK
• Clare Bond (University of Aberdeen) From map and compass to 3D models and digital outcrops: how biases influence mapping and interpretation
• Matt Balme (Open University) Team-based, bespoke, and machine learning: different ways to map Mars from remote sensing data
• Closing remarks and reflections by Mike Daly (President of the Geological Society)

Conference convenors

    • Lucy Williams (Rockhopper Exploration)
    • Rob Butler (Aberdeen University)
    • Mike Searle (University of Oxford)
    • Sanjeev Gupta (Imperial College London)
    • David Schofield (British Geological Survey)


This will be a virtual event, taking place via Zoom. All those registered will receive details of how to join in advance of the event.


If you would like to speak to us about sponsoring this event, please contact

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Registration rates

£ 60.00
£ 80.00
£ 70.00
£ 65.00
£ 45.00
£ 25.00
£ 25.00

Geolsoc Contact

Conference Office

The Geological Society
Burlington House