GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 186-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


RATH, James M., Arkville, NY 12406

"Fossil Jackets" is an app for mobile devices (Android and iOS phones and tablets). It reproduces a typical paper field label, and comes with features not possible on paper. These include automatic entry of time/date and geolocation, adding specimen photos, and the ability to tag a specimen with RFID. An electronic label brings with it the many benefits of digitization. For example, reducing typos in data entry and the repetitive tasks involved in primary data collection, seamlessly transferring data from the field to collections management, and easy indexing and searching. An added benefit of RFID is easier tracking as collected specimens travel from field to prep lab to accessioning to storage to lending and study.

Inventory tracking is a common problem in retail and has seen many software solutions; however, few are adapted to the special needs of paleontology, and many come with considerable cost. It seems ripe for a free and open-source solution that can be used and modified by any group of paleontologists worldwide. This app is a first step, and the code is available on GitHub under a Creative Commons license at The last two summers we have had successful field tests, and hope to refine the process further. Partners and feedback are welcome.