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The use of GIS in reconstructing the Holocene palaeogeography of the Rhine-Meuse delta, The Netherlands

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In Holocene palaeogeographical studies, GIS nowadays is used in various ways, embracing either GIS modelling possibilities or GIS spatial data storage functionality. This paper is an example of the latter type of GIS use for reconstruction of the Holocene Rhine-Meuse delta (128×75 km; part of the Dutch coastal plain). Depositional traces of river courses (channel belts) are major features to map. We digitized mapped channel belt fragments and stored their reconstructed ages in a linked table. The GIS data structure allows checking for internal consistency of the implemented reconstruction, enabling iterative improvement while digitizing and labelling. Palaeogeographical maps for any given time during the Holocene result from GIS-database queries. Coupled to the GIS are high-resolution digital elevation data (sub-decimetre accurate laser-altimetry data covering the entire study area) and a database of ca 100 000 borehole descriptions, allowing for further mapping improvements. The GIS structure and digital data together greatly improved mapping and enable larger areas to be mapped in greater detail with greater accuracy and in less time.

Keywords: Borehole data; Channel belts; Holocene coastal plain; Subsurface mapping

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Netherlands Centre for Geo-Ecological Research (ICG), Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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