INTEGRATION AND PEDAGOGICAL EFFICACY OF DIGITAL FIELD METHODOLOGIES IN A FULL-YEAR SED/STRAT AND STRUCTURE COURSE
The Apps are not mapping programs, but rather a digital method of collecting field data and displaying it in real time on an image base. In StratLogger, the user records bed thickness, lithofacies, biofacies, and contact data in preset and modifiable fields. Each bed/unit record may also be photographed and geo-referenced. As each record is collected, a column diagram of the stratigraphic sequence is built in real time, complete with lithology color, lithology texture, and fossil symbols.
GeoFieldBook is used to collect structural and other field observations. Each record (bedding, contact, joint, fault) includes location/date/time information, orientation measurements, formation names, text observations and photos taken with the tablet camera. Records are customizable, so users can add fields of their own choosing. Observations are displayed on an image base in real time with strike/dip, plunge/trend symbols correctly oriented. The image base is also used for in-field navigation.
Common to both Apps is the ability to export the data (csv files), photographs and maps or stratigraphic columns (images). Since the data are digital they are easily imported into various processing programs: GIS, Google Earth, Stereonet, spreadsheet and drawing programs. The ability to quickly digitally transfer data provides more time for in-field evening reflection on interpretation and planning for subsequent field days.
With 8 years worth of projects completed in the Big Horn Basin in Wyoming, (3 years pre-App, 5 years with data recording and image base display) our assessment suggests that both student efficiency and capability have improved. Comparing data from pre-App to post-App years suggests that students using the Apps more quickly progress towards synthesis and interpretation of the data as well as a deeper understanding of complex 4D field relationship.