#shareEGU20: the Data Help Desk and VR Outcrops!

#shareEGU20: the Data Help Desk and VR Outcrops!

Alongside the regular scientific offer, some of our members have very kindly agreed to run activities online, so keep an eye out for them during the week! Today we focus on the digital Data Help Desk and a guide to VR and Virtual Outcrops.


Do you have data-related questions? Are you looking to make your data and/or software open and FAIR? Are you interested in tools and resources for working with your data or for finding data to reuse? The Virtual Data Help Desk is here for you!

The Virtual Data Help Desk, which is a program of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), and EarthCube, provides researchers with opportunities to engage with informatics experts familiar with their scientific domain to learn about skills and techniques that will help further their research and make their data and software open and FAIR. The Virtual Data Help Desk will be staffed with experts from the Earth science informatics community to answer data-related questions and to demo useful resources.

When: May 4th-May 8th, 2020 during EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online

Where: Online. Follow the #DataHelpDesk on twitter here. Learn more:

During the Virtual Data Help Desk, YOU can:

  • Ask Data Questions: Share your questions any time from May 4th-May 8th via Twitter using the hashtag #DataHelpDesk. Our team of Earth science data professionals has decades of experience in informatics and in many scientific domains and specializes in topics like finding, sharing, analyzing, publishing, and citing data.
  • Watch Tool Demos & Tutorials: We will direct you to helpful tutorials and demos throughout the week that will highlight tools and resources you can use to manage your data and enhance your research. Follow #DataHelpDesk to hear about these!
  • Join Virtual Office Hours & Other Events: Some of our partners will host virtual office hours and other live drop-in events throughout the week, where you can ask questions, view demos, and more. Follow #DataHelpDesk to hear about these!

The Data Help Desk has been a physical event in years past at professional meetings including the AGU Fall Meeting, the Ocean Sciences Meeting,and the Ecological Society of America Meeting. The Virtual Data Help Desk will help us realize new possibilities, including the ability for anyone anywhere to jump in and ask or answer questions. Join us to improve your data skills and practices!

Questions? Contact


As well as the Data Help Desk, the EGU Outreach Committe is pleased to support Fabio Bonali in offering a guide to VR and Virtual Outcrops!


Geoscience communication during Covid-19 time: experience online-accessible virtual outcrops and 360 VR videos

This initiative has the aim of allowing both scientists and students to explore key sites in Earth Sciences using online-accessible virtual outcrops and 360 VR videos. This immersive experience can be done directly at home with the aid of a mobile phone, a laptop, or a tablet, as well as by using a Virtual Reality headset. During Covid-19 time, this exploration can be carried on safely at home, on a great variety of environments, spanning from the Italian seafloor to the Maldivian coral reef, from active volcanoes like Mt Etna and Santorini to spectacular faults and fractures in Northern Iceland. All 3D models are provided with a scientific description and several annotations for a full and autonomous virtual survey. Furthermore, the staff is glad to guide the explorer during 2 live chats (lunch time), one devoted to terrestrial environments, the other to coastal and marine environments.

Chat with us: Tue, 05 May, 12:45–13:45 CEST

Chair and co-Chairs: Fabio L. Bonali, Federico Pasquaré Mariotto, Varvara Antoniou and Elena Russo.

Focus on: Active tectonics and Volcano-tectonics (Northern Iceland and Mt Enta, Italy), Shallow magma bodies (Iceland) and Geology of volcanic areas (Santorini and Iceland).

Chat with us: Thu, 07 May, 12:45–13:45 CEST

Chair and co-Chairs: Fabio Marchese, Luca Fallati and Fabio L. Bonali

Focus on: Seafloor geomorphology (Southern Italy), Coastal geomorphology (Republic of Maldives) and Climate change and ecology (Republic of Maldives).


We hope you will check out some of these great side events during your #shareEGU20 week!


Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, EGU has made the decision to cancel this year’s physical General Assembly in Vienna and instead offer a partial alternative meeting online, called #shareEGU20. Over the next few weeks in the run up to #shareEGU20, which will be held from the 4 – 8 May 2020, we will be posting regular updates and information about how to get involved, what EGU can offer during this week and how to find each other. We know that there will be many, many questions that people have, and we are learning how to do this right along with you, so please send us your questions over social media or by emailing or We’re looking forward to sharing EGU with you, online!


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Hazel Gibson is Head of Communications at the European Geosciences Union. She is responsible for the management of the Union's social media presence and the EGU blogs, where she writes regularly for the EGU's official blog, GeoLog. She has a PhD in Geoscience Communication and Cognition from the University of Plymouth in the UK. Hazel tweets @iamhazelgibson.

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