MOBILE GIS IN GEOLOGIC MAPPING EXERCISES
The Geology Department at Ball State University has been teaching and developing the components of Mobile GIS in its Computer Geo-Science, GPS Techniques, and Field Camp courses, and will be incorporating them into Structural Geology. Typically, an introductory one-hour class session is held in the field to teach acquiring GIS data. The next step is a two-hour class to teach map creation using a laptop based GIS program (ArcMap). The students are then asked to independently acquire more geologic data such as outcrop locations, rock descriptions, and strike/dip; transfer the data to a laptop; generate a final map using GIS; and print the product within a week.
We have integrated Mobile GIS into our traditional geologic mapping exercises, as well as developed new, GIS-specific exercises. Since the bedrock in east central Indiana is topographically invariant, non-inclined, and often not exposed, here we present our new concept for an introductory project. It utilizes inclined, one foot square planes that are placed upon a series of pedestals stationed in an open area, each accompanied by a petrographic hand sample. The students record a rock description and strike/dip as a data point which is GPS-located on the PDA, and construct a geologic map with this information. This exercise challenges students to use higher order thinking skills needed in generating a geologic map while providing the benefits of the spatial organization and data availability of Mobile GIS in the field. It also prepares students to use GIS technology during advanced classes held in the more complex settings of the Appalachians and Wyoming.