You are here

An efficient interactive approach to exploring fossil data

Fossils today are increasingly being digitized and documented by multi-modal data obtained from visual data (i.e., photos and tomographic images), as well as text, locations, geological ages, and other chemical and physical measurements. Popular online websites such as PBDB and GBDB offer visual explorations of specimens' localities, but they have limited multi-modal data visualization abilities and face challenges related to visual obscuration and insufficient interaction/exploration. Here, we present, a continuously developing open-source online tool for assisting paleontologists with interactively exploring fossil collections. The tool is designed to address the issues of visual clutter, limited data types, and insufficient interactions. It is intuitive and endorsed by paleontologists. We have also quantitatively evaluated the tool by measuring the interaction scaling performance. The results show that it provides sublinear interaction performance and thus is able to deal efficiently with millions-level data. The current demonstrates the Ordovician to Silurian graptolite fossil multimedia dataset, which is significant in global stratigraphy and shale gas exploration. The extended version also facilitates the use of Deepbone (, world's most comprehensive database of vertebrate paleontology database. We developed the code for to be open access and will continue to improve it.
Release Date:
April, 2022
Data type:
2D, Spatial representation
Web based
Linux, Mac OSX, Windows

Project development

Institution: Tianjin University