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Geologic field trip guidebooks provide unique kinds of data not readily available from other sources. They often feature detailed coverage on the geology of a specific locale or region. In addition to including geologic maps and stratigraphic columns that convey the scientific details, other geographic information such as road maps and a distance log is generally included to facilitate locating key outcrops or other geologic features of interest. Photographs and supplementary notes are also used to highlight key details for the reader. Because of such attributes, guidebooks can be a useful resource for anyone from an amateur enthusiast to a professional geologist.
In many cases field trip guidebooks may be issued in conjunction with a geologic conference, university-sponsored excursion, or other special event. Print runs are often small, with limited distribution. All of this can make finding guidebooks and the valuable information they contain difficult.
The Geologic Guidebooks of North America Database helps address these concerns and provides a way to readily identify geologic guidebooks issued for any region in North America. As noted on the website, the database builds on entries originally compiled and edited by the Geologic Information Society Guidebooks Committee for the print publication The Union List of Geologic Field Trip Guidebooks of North America, last published in 1996. New information is added to the database monthly and over 10,000 guidebooks are now included.