What is Geoinformatics?
Geoinformatics (sometimes referred to as geographic information science or GIS) is a term which has been given a variety of descriptions but generally it refers to data which has been collected through techniques such as remote sensing and which are finally analysed, processed and visualised on a computer.
At first glance it may seem that geoinformatics doesn’t play a large role within volcanology, however when one delves deeper, there is a huge amount of research and literature combining geoinformatics practices to solve and present volcanological problems. In the past, volcanology was purely based on written observations, however with the advancement of technology the need for processing and more sophisticated analytical techniques has led to the incorporation of geoinformatics within volcanology.
Some examples of application....mapping (particularly hazard mapping), monitoring and extra-terrestrial mapping/investigation. A perfect example of Geoinformatics and volcanology is the brilliant NASA Earth Observatory website (example image below), it is through the taking of images such as these that we know about eruptions of remote volcanoes.
I am sure there are many more applications of geoinformatics within volcanology out there, this was just an overview of some of the most important! If you are interested to learn more, read this summary here.