Personal Information Collected
Geology.com provides information about geology and earth science to visitors without charge. No log-in is required and we do not passively collect information from our visitors that would personally identify them in any way. Any information that would personally identify a visitor is transmitted to us directly by the visitor - such as in an email message or shopping cart transaction.
Visitor Information Logged
Our server logs each visit to our site and records the pages that have been viewed. We use this information to understand how visitors engage our website and to enable us to make informed decisions about developing new content. The logs do not contain personal information about any user and no attempt is made to identify individual users.
Information collected includes:
- URL web addresses that send traffic to our website (these are search engines and other websites that included a link to Geology.com)
- IP addresses (a unique number assigned to a computer when it connects to the Internet) of visitors that enter our website
- The types of browsers (e.g., Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox) used to access our site
- The operating system (Windows, Unix) used to access our site
- The date and time for each visitor's access
- The URLs of pages viewed by our visitors
We do not share the contents of our visitor log files with anyone outside of Geology.com. The only reason that we would release this information is if it is requested by a law enforcement or government agency for the purpose of an essential investigation.
Information Voluntarily Provided by Visitors
Geology.com welcomes feedback about our website and responds to many information requests from visitors each day. These communications are done by email messages initiated by our website visitors. We will use the information associated with your message to prepare a reply but no personal information from your inquiry is shared with anyone outside of Geology.com. We do not maintain an email list of visitors who correspond with us and do not send unsolicited messages to those who contact us.
Credit Card Transactions
Our website has a store where visitors can purchase tools, books, wall maps, topo maps, mineral specimens, and other items related to geology and earth science. The shopping cart of this store is operated by Ultracart.com. They use session cookies to keep track of what shoppers place into their shopping cart and process their transaction. These cookies are small files that are placed on a visitor's computer to allow that computer to temporarily remember information about an order in progress. These cookies only contain information that allows our shopping cart to remember which items have been selected for purchase. No personal information is contained within the cookie and they expire in under 48 hours or when the shopper restarts his/her computer.
In the checkout process the visitor must type in name, address, phone, email, and credit card information. This information is not stored in the cookie but is transmitted by secure connections to Ultracart.com (our shopping cart provider), Authorize.net (our credit card processor) and the website visitor's credit card bank. This information is only used to complete the credit card transaction, ship the merchandise to the visitor, communicate with the customer about the status of an order, and conduct a security review to identify transactions that are potentially fradulent. This is done to protect customer credit card transactions and reduce losses to fraud. Geology.com does not have access to the buyer's full credit card number or their credit card security code. This information is processed for us by Ultracart.com and Authorize.net. Both of these companies have earned a Payment Card Industry Level 1 security status, the top security rating provided by the credit card industry.
During the checkout process the customer can check a box that will invite us to send them information about sales or special offers. We are the only user of this information and we never share customer purchase information with anyone outside of Geology.com. Ultracart.com and Authorize.net have similar policies and do not release any information about our customers.
Links to Other Websites
To assist our visitors in learning about geology and earth science, we link out to other websites that have related content. When you click on one of these links you will be leaving our website. When we link to a website, we always review that site to be sure that it has quality content and to be sure that it is a site that we would recommend to our colleagues, friends, and members of our family. We do not control the content of these websites and encourage any Geology.com visitor to contact us if you feel that one of these websites contains information that is unsuitable for visitors of any age.
Geology.com displays the ads of companies that have directly contracted with us. All contracted ads are approved by us and the advertiser's website is inspected at the beginning of each advertising term. Each of these ads leads to a website that we would recommend to our colleagues, friends and members of our own family.
We also display ads that are sent to our website by Google Adsense and Exponential.com. These ads are selected by Google Adsense or Exponential. The ads sent to our site are selected in several ways which include: matching the advertiser's subject matter to the content of the page on which the ads are displayed; matching the topic of the ad to the overall theme of our website; or matching the ad to cookies on the visitor's browser which indicate previous advertiser relationships, matching ads to the geographic location of the visitor or their previous web viewing history. Google Adsense and Exponential have privacy policies that explain the information obtained through their advertising and how that information is handled. Visitors can also learn how Google ads are customized to their interest or specify their interests via the Google Ads Preferences Manager. Advertisers who use Google Adsense or Exponential's ad service are required to comply with the advertising standards maintained by both of these companies.
We regularly inspect the ads that appear on our site and believe that Google and Exponential do a very good job of delivering ad content that is of potential interest to our visitors. In the few instances that we have seen an ad that contained questionable content we immediately install manual filters to ban future ads of that kind or ads from that source.
You can choose to disable or selectively turn off cookies in your browser settings, or by managing preferences in programs such as Norton Internet Security. However, this can affect how you are able to interact with our site as well as other websites. This could include the inability to login to services or programs, such as logging into forums or online email accounts.
Interaction with Children
Geology.com complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). We make no attempt to collect information from children. Children are able to write to us on their own initiative and we will reply to them on a one-time basis to provide educational information related to geology and earth science. We will not recontact them for any other reason or share details of their contact with anyone outside of Geology.com. Transactions in our store are not knowingly accepted from children.
Geology.com is owned by Digital Map Store, LLC, a limited liability company located in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Hobart King, a licensed professional geologist registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, serves as publisher and manager. Dr. King holds degrees in geology from California University of Pennsylvania (B.S. 1975) and West Virginia University (M.S. 1978, Ph.D. 1982). From 1980 until 1994 he was a geologist at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. He was on the faculty of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania between 1994 and 2008. He has managed Geology.com since 2005 and can be reached at the email address shown below.
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