Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Taking rocks hi tech

Our institution is, like many others, encouraging the use of technology in large lecture courses. I jumped into the deep end with the CPS clickers and think once I really learn more than basic uses that it will be really great- although I completely underestimated how awkward it would feel to stand around in front of a large class for 60 seconds while they all entered an answer. I am now contemplating the use of a GeoPad, not only in teaching but in research as well.

Geopad is "the integrated combination of GIS software, a GPS receiver, and a Windows XP TabletPC (GeoPad) or a PocketPC Personal Digital Assistant (GeoPocket)." Sounds great, but I have such little experience with this stuff and really no clue where to start. My biggest fear is that I drop a bunch of dough on some equipment that will take a ton of time to integrate. On Inside-out, based out of Lawrence University, there's a good bit of blogged info on using this technology in teaching intro environmental science courses. I'm scrounging for info and hope that once this semester reaches its final throes I'll be able to dig into this a bit more.

But I mean check it out- how cool would it be to be able to do this:


Lost Geologist said...

I am not against using hi-tech gadgets and computers but I am just thinking about that I will have to add the weight of the tablet pc, batteries and generators for the campsite to the stuff I already need to carry anyways every day. One will still need to have all the usuall equipment. This isn't replacing any GPS, compass, rock-hammer but adding even more. I am recalling myself during field work in my last intership in the peruvian desert climbing a steep mountain. I don't see myself doing that with one of these.

It does look cool though in a way. I bet they only sell those in the US and not Europe.

limonit said...

I agree with the lost geologist. And I have a lot of questions:

What happens if you drop the thing?
How much does it cost?
How about rain and snow?
Is the display readable in bright sunlight?
Can you use it while wearing gloves?
What happens if you use it in very hot conditions?

And, as a last thought: What does using it really add? Wouldn't a piece of cardboard and a set of pens be more appropriate?

Silver Fox said...

I think it sounds neat for some specific applications - or at least, I would like something where I could immmediately (or later) draw on some photos I've just taken in the field. I can always draw in a notebook, but then I go back later and draw on prints, and now that I don't print photos, adding the lines with a pad like that would be cool. I'm not sure I need a pad integrated with GPS, though, maybe something simpler. Have to look into it.