Meet the GeoConnect³d interns

This post is part of the GeoConnect³d blog.

Michiel and Shandro (left to right)

Hello dear reader, Michiel and Shandro here. You probably haven’t heard of us before and that’s because we are students. As classmates, we just finished our first year in the Master of geology at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. In our master programme, we get the option to take an internship in our second semester.

Shandro was eager to take an internship at the Geological Survey of Belgium (GSB) and it was proposed to have a look at potential subjects during a first meeting. Instead, during this meeting, Kris Piessens and Renata Barros were itching to introduce Shandro to GeoConnect³d. Their enthusiasm for GeoConnect³d was rather contagious, convincing Shandro to participate in the project as part of his internship. On the evening of the same day of the meeting, we had a chat about GeoConnect³d. Michiel, at this time still uncertain about taking an internship, was quickly becoming interested as well. Luckily for him, they accepted a second student to work on the project.

Internship objective

At the start of our internship, GeoConnect³d’s methodology was sufficiently developed to be put to the test. Kris and Renata’s main objective was to see if their new structural framework (SF) concept would work when applied and how practical it would be to teach it to people from outside of the project. Specifically, our collaborative task was to learn about the SF concept and apply to the Walloon area in Belgium at a scale of 1:250 000.

To get a better overview of the geology of the area, we created a large printout of a collection of available structural and geological maps. Using our knowledge of the area and with help of colleagues at the GSB, we marked important limits and units on this printout. Afterwards, we started to create attributes and vocabulary, two sources of information linked to the geometric limits and units of the SF. By doing this, digitally drawing the SF geometries was made relatively easy because if we would get lost in all the different data, we could go back to the attributes and vocabulary to check what we decided to draw. Due to the smoothness of this workflow, we were also able to create a part of the SF at scale 1:2 000 000 covering the same area. The figure below shows the result of this work.

Left: structural framework of the Walloon area at scale 1:250 000. Right: structural framework of the Walloon area + neighbouring areas at scale 1:2 000 000.


When our work on the SF was done, our internship was only halfway. As we created part of the SF at intermediate scales, it was now possible to have a look at the link between the SF concept and the concept of geomanifestations. Using our remaining time, we individually worked with a type of geomanifestation data. Shandro worked with mineral occurrences and Michiel worked with seismicity. The result of this work is a bit too extensive to start explaining in this post, but in general, we provided the project recommendations on how to make use of the respective geomanifestation data.


Officially, our internship ended on the 8th of May 2020 and the weeks afterwards were spent on writing reports about our work. As students, our time with GeoConnect³d was very satisfying, as for the first time, it felt that we were not just working to get a good mark, but that our work would contribute to something larger. Even though the internship is over, we still keep in touch with the project and its developments as the collaboration with Renata and Kris was really enjoyable.


Shandro and Michiel
Catholic University of Leuven – KULeuven and Geological Survey of Belgium – GSB

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