Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM
INTEGRATION OF DIGITAL MAPPING INTO A SUMMER FIELD COURSE
Traditional field mapping using paper maps and a field notebook has been the standard for over 150 years. With emerging technologies, there are compelling reasons to adopt a digital format for the collection and storage of field-related information. Advantages of a digital approach include speed, accuracy, ease of use, and power. In light of these advantages, we have implemented digital mapping exercises into our summer field camp using GPS-equipped Pocket PC computers and GIS software (ArcPad and ArcView). Using DOQ and/or DLG base maps, students can draw contacts and collect a variety of structural and text data. Data collection is standardized using a series of custom designed forms that pop-up when students draw a contact or locate a station. Once entered, structural data are displayed on the map with appropriate oriented symbols and can be analyzed using a stereonet program that interfaces with the ArcPad databases. After mapping in the field, students download their maps and data to a laptop where they can be edited and compiled with ArcView. Intermediate maps can be transferred back to the Pocket PC for the next days work. In addition to using the Pocket PCs for field mapping, we have also created geologic road logs for the routes to and from field camp to provide instruction in what is traditionally wasted time. Students can also access an extensive reference library and instructional videos using their Pocket PCs. In development for next years camp is an interface between ArcPad and a laser rangefinder that will allow students to make accurate digital maps of outcrops and small areas.
Student response has been overwhelming positive. Collection of contact and station data using GPS navigation resulted in greater accuracy than relying on topographic maps or air photos alone. The ability to analyze structural data while in the field improved data quality. Finally, map products were professionally produced in far less time compared to hand drafting.