Training courses in industry are being moved from face-to-face events to virtual equivalents for cost reasons but also for convenience, ie availability of online training where and when needed. This effort also comprises geological fieldtrips which in addition pose significant safety risks. On the other hand, acquiring 3D panoramic images, as well as drone footage in geological outcrops is nowadays inexpensive and easy to process due to hard- and software developments during the last decade.
This has triggered the development of virtual fieldtrips for various purposes, mainly training and development, project support via outcrop analogues often difficult to access and knowledge management. Virtual outcrop stops have been created, in which the learner can interactively interrogate the geology and conduct exercises, like what would traditionally be done at the outcrop stop during a field visit. The digital data from the outcrop locations can be combined into virtual geological fieldtrips. The Dorset coastline in the UK was selected for the first virtual fieldtrip in Shell L&D as it covers outcrops which are relevant to the hydrocarbon discoveries made in the area, like the Wytch Farm and Kimmeridge oil fields. In addition, they can also be used to explain the North Sea Petroleum systems. This is supported by available outcrops presenting source rocks, reservoirs, seals and also structures trapping hydrocarbons. The examples presented are part of a basic training set which is delivered for non-geologists (e.g. reservoir engineers, petrophysicists etc.) which is supported by a set of so-called learning nuggets, ie short training videos to complement the experience and understanding.