Dolomites geological portal online soon

The countdown has begun for the online debut of the Dolomites World Heritage Geotrail. The task force of the Geological Heritage Network of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation is dedicated to a project that goes far beyond the 47-stage trail winding through the nine Systems of the Dolomites; it is the first portal aimed at disseminating geological information on the Dolomites World Heritage Site and is the result of extraordinary teamwork uniting all the Dolomite provinces. 

New content for a journey through space and time

The portal will present two noteworthy innovations compared to the four hardcopy guides published in recent years. The content has been significantly enhanced with an even richer, more complete geological description of the World Heritage Site 

Additionally, visitors to the portal will be able to choose whether to travel through space or in time. “We have reworked the content of the hardcopy guides to allow a journey into space, structured according to the Geotrail”, explains Alfio Viganò, a geologist with the Geological Service of the Autonomous Province of Trento, which is responsible for coordinating the Network, “and we have also intertwined some thematic itineraries into the spatial exploration using spherical photos created by Matteo Visintainer and Marco Stucchi, as well as drawings by Davide Bonadonna. Each spherical photo allows you to immerse yourself in the geological history of the Dolomites, in a virtual journey lasting millions of years, or shows the catastrophic events and the effects of climate change which affect this area today as they have in the past”.  

From classrooms to trails, a tool for everyone 

While hiking or navigating through the fossil archipelago, you will be able to superimpose the geographical view over the thematic view. “We would like to allow visitors to experience the serial nature of the Dolomites site first-hand,” explains Viganò, “each area tells the story of a unique segment that is distinct from the others, but fundamental to the understanding of the Dolomites as a whole. For example, you could follow the theme of climate change by clicking from the Brenta Dolomites to the Friulian Dolomites to get an immediate overview of the unity of the Heritage”.  

This approach will greatly expand the pool of potential users, which will no longer be limited to hikers intending to pass through one or more stages of the Dolomites World Heritage Geotrail, but will also include anyone wishing to learn about and deepen their understanding of the geology of the Dolomites, starting with teachers and students who will have access to the engaging content. “Geological interpretations, thematic insights on sensitive points, and of course, the Geotrail layout with the corresponding geostops will be available for each spherical photo. For navigation, we also made use of the cartographic bases provided by Webmapp, as well as the themes from the new geological map of the entire Dolomites area, which the Network has been working on for some time.” 

Unprecedented teamwork 

Geologists from South Tyrol, Veneto, Friuli and Trento, working in their respective administrations, museums or universities, have all pulled together to achieve a shared goal: “The diverse visions and competences that these geologists bring to the table are among the added values of this project which the organisations participating in the Geological Heritage Network have been involved in, and this diversity forms an extremely rich foundation from which to work in a common direction—towards the dissemination and geological valorisation of the Dolomites World Heritage Site”, concludes Alfio Viganò 

This is a concrete project that demonstrates what the work of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation Networks can lead to, and it represents the fruit of cooperation and the will to believe in the unity and serial nature of the Site.