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David Soller

David Soller is Geologist and Project Chief for the National Geologic Map Database in Reston, VA.

Current position:

Chief, National Geologic Map Database project – Development and management of science databases for support of societal decisionmaking and scientific research are critical and widely recognized needs.  The National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992 stipulated creation and maintenance of a National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB,, as a national archive of spatially referenced geoscience data.  The Act further stipulates that all new information contributed to the NGMDB should adhere to technical and science standards that are to be developed as needed under the guidance of the NGMDB project.  Development of a national database and its attendant standards is a daunting task requiring close collaboration among all geoscience agencies in the U.S., at the State and Federal levels.  The Act, therefore, creates the environment for the USGS and the Association of American State Geologists (AASG) to collaborate to build the NGMDB and also serve the needs of their own agencies.  In 1995, I led the process in which the NGMDB project plan was defined, and since that time I have been responsible for executing and adapting that plan.  The NGMDB has evolved into a highly respected geoscience resource, and its impact on the evolution of digital geologic mapping standards and guidelines, in the U.S. and internationally, has been highly significant.  Also, I continue to publish map products and articles related to my principal expertise.

Professional interests and goals:

  • Improve the quality and accessibility of earth-science information available to the public. This work is conducted through the USGS National Geologic Map Database project and various committees.
  • Contribute to scientific advances in the earth sciences, principally through research into the three-dimensional distribution of surficial geologic materials.
  • Develop new methods of quantitative analysis and interpretation of digital earth-science information, and conduct interdisciplinary research leading to new applications for that information in a decisionmaking setting.

These interests and goals are supported by a rather eclectic set of current and past expertise that includes: managing a complex, technology-oriented project; standards development; three-dimensional geologic mapping; benefit-cost studies and econometric analysis; applications of geologic information to hydrogeologic and land use issues; analysis of weathering profiles, focusing on clay mineralogy; stratigraphy; neotectonics; GIS techniques; programming; and Website development.  I am particularly interested in the analysis and integration of large, complex source information, at both regional and local scales, and effectively conveying interpretive results to a non-scientific audience.  The ability to evaluate scientific information, create a product, and then communicate to the public the complex scient