Robert Wardwell

Robert Wardwell is Geologist for the Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center stationed at the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) in Vancouver, WA. 


Rob is a member of the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB) project with experience in computer programming, database management, Web application development, and GIS.  He is currently focused on developing and maintaining NGMDB Web sites, and processing thousands of digital geologic map images for integration into the NGMDB Map Catalog and MapView products.

In addition to his work with the NGMDB, Rob has teamed up with members of the Volcano Hazards Program to work on software projects related to field work reporting, digital image management, real-time data analysis and visualization, and predicted ash plume mapping.


  • 7+ years of  Web development work on both Linux and  Windows OS using Apache, MySQL, Oracle,  HTML / XHTML , CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, Perl / Perl DBIx, PHP / PEAR, Zope / Plone, XML, SVG, LizardTech Express Server,  and MapServer.
  • Relational Database design and administration using Oracle, Access, MySQL, and SQLite.  Expertise in writing SQL statements and scripts to retrieve and analyze data.
  • Digital Imagery processing and data management experience using Adobe Photoshop and Acrobat, ImageMagick, Ghostscript, Python Imaging Library (PIL), and MrSid GeoExpress.
  • 5+ years of GIS experience using ArcGIS with ArcInfo, Spatial and 3D Analyst, and Arc Geo-database to create and analyze geologic data.
  • Leverages programming skills in Python, Perl, PHP, and Visual Basic to automate processes, create scripts and batch jobs, and interact with relational databases.
  • Knowledgeable in the principles of Geology, Geologic mapping, and USGS mapping products.
  • Provides excellent documentation on all aspects of work.
  • Team player who values sharing ideas, learning from others, creative thinking, and problem solving.


Geologist                                                               Vancouver, WA - June 2003 to Present

US Geological Survey                                              Reston, VA - April 2002 to June 2003

  • Responsible for designing, populating, and maintaining a growing collection of over 25,000 full-sized, high resolution, digital geologic map images for the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB) project.
  • Administers NGMDB project databases and 508 compliant Web sites. Oversees all scanning and file processing efforts for digital imagery.  Designed internal Web interfaces and scripts to facilitate data management and project workflow.  
  • Makes critical hardware and software decisions related to project Web servers, database servers, and RAID storage arrays for hosting, organizing, and disseminating over 10 TB of compressed and uncompressed image data.
  • Works with scientists from the USGS and State Geological Surveys to ensure a positive working relationship and high level of data quality for the NGMDB.

GIS Technician                                                                               June 2001 to April 2002

US Geological Survey – Energy Resources Program

  • Worked with a Web development team to prepare GIS data sets for Web publication. Duties included creating spatial data layers, preparing maps, and coordinating data collection efforts with scientists, managers, and technical team members.
  • Implemented a set of processes, file naming conventions, and backup solutions to facilitate team workflow.  

Surveyor Assistant                                                             June 2000 to September 2000

Hood River County, Oregon

  •  Collected GPS data utilized in the County GIS and Access database.
  •  Investigated survey partitions, roads, bridges, monuments, and forest boundaries with the county surveyor and engineer.


Masters in Geology / GIS                                    Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 2000

  • Graduate research in GIS involved creating digital elevation models to analyze coastal landforms.
  • Completed credits for certification in “GIS and remote sensing of coastal environments.”
  • Instructed lab and lecture courses as a graduate teaching assistant.

 Bachelors in Geology                                          Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 1997

  •  Graduated Cum Laude.
  •  Team Captain: NCAA Division 1 Sailing Team 1997.
  •  Scholar Athlete of the Year Award 1997.


Robert S. Wardwell, Kevin W. Laurent, Jeremy O. Skog, and David R. Soller, 2003, The National Geologic Map Database Image Library—Technical Details,  Digital Mapping Techniques '03 — Workshop Proceedings: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03–471

Robert S. Wardwell and Kevin W. Laurent , 2006, Banding Birds with MapServer CGI , Digital Mapping Techniques '06— Workshop Proceedings: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1285

Ramsey, D. W., Schilling, S. P., Robinson, J. E., Griswold, J. P., Wardwell, R. S., and Ewert, J. W., 2007, Mount St. Helens Reloaded: Applying GIS to the ongoing eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington: ESRI Map Book, v. 22, p. 6.

Posters / Abstracts

David R. Soller, Wardwell, R.S., and Stamm, N.R., 2011, Accessing Two Centuries of Science, Through the National Geologic Map Database: Geological Society of America Paper No. 263-11

Nancy R. Stamm, Soller, D.R., Wardlaw, B.R, Orndorff, R.C. and Wardwell, R.S., 2011, The National Geologic Map Database Project’s Adventures in Managing Old Fossils and Geologic Names: Geological Society of America Paper No. 263-11

Robert S.Wardwell, David R. Soller, and Christopher P. Garrity, 2011, Acquisition and Processing Workflow for Geologic Map Images in the National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB) Map Catalog:Digital Mapping Techniques '11 - Workshop Proceedings,  May 22-25 Williamsburg, VA

Robert S. Wardwell, Kevin W. Laurent, Jeremy O. Skog, and David R. Soller, 2003, The NGMDB Geologic Map Image Library – Delivering Scanned Geologic Maps Online: Geological Society of America Paper No. 124-9

Schultz, A.C.,Levine, M. J., and Wardwell, R. S., 2001, Geode – An Interactive Data Retrieval, Display, and Analysis Internet Application: Geological Society of America Paper No. 134-0