Thursday, August 12, 2010

Update Released: ESRI ArcGIS for iOS

ESRI released version 1.1 of ArcGIS for iOS iPhone app, on 6 August 2010.  It is mostly a bug-fix and performance improvement release, though a few minor feature enhancements are included as well. 

From the release notes:
  • Includes many stability and performance improvements when interacting with maps 
  • Tap on a query result to navigate and view it in the map 
  • Enjoy the convenience of registering your new account directly from within the application 
  • Addresses accuracy issues when measuring distances and areas
  • Tap a URL or phone number to visit web site or make a call

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ESRI Announces ArcGIS for iOS Application

Today ESRI released their long-awaited iPhone app: ArcGIS for iOS. The initial version of the app lets users find and share maps from ArcGIS Servers, and offers tools for searching, identifying, measuring, and querying those databases.  Future versions of the app should enable users to collect and update GIS features and attributes, as well as perform GIS analysis by accessing geoprocessing tasks on the server. A beta of the ArcGIS API for iOS is also currently available, with release anticipated in the third-quarter of 2010.

There are a number of geology-related databases highlighted in this initial release as Featured Content, such as North American Geology and Kentucky Geology.  Other databases of interest, which currently show up under Popular Content include various Bing layers (including maps, aerial, hybrid, and road), OpenStreetMap, USA Topo Maps, and Terrain.  And, of course, you can point the app at your own favorite ArcGIS Server data sources.

ArcGIS for iOS does require an internet connection to access data on ArcGIS Servers.  So, if you're going to be in areas without cellular or Wi-Fi data coverage, then Integrity Logic's geology and geography iPhone apps, which include a wealth of off-line data, are worth a look.  They were quite useful during a recent two-week geology field trip to the southwestern US; more on that in a future post.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Workshop: Teaching Geoscience in the Field in the 21st Century

According to the workshop website, there are still a few spots left in the Teaching Geoscience in the Field in the 21st Century workshop.  It is being held at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, on 13-16 August 2010, with two optional activities: "GIS in the Field" on 12 August 2010 and a "Regional Field Trip" 17-10 August 2010.  

A description of the workshop from the overview page:
This workshop will focus on both the traditional aspects of field instruction that have long been a foundation of geoscience education, and the emerging opportunities to engage field instruction across the geoscience curriculum. We are looking for participants who are actively teaching in the field who can share their experience and examples of field instruction in a variety of instructional settings.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Welcome to the new blog!  This blog is initially intended as a compliment to the main website, however, over time, I expect it will become the main source of information for and the static website will be phased out.

A GeoPad is envisioned as a combination of novel technologies that strive to enable in-the-field, real-time access to powerful data collection, analysis, visualization, and interpretation tools.  The benefits of such innovations to typical users, however, can only be realized on a broad basis when the technology can be easily employed to enhance learning and scientific activities, rather than the technology itself being a primary focus or a constraint on field activities.

Generally speaking, the GeoPad is a rugged Tablet PC equipped with wireless networking, GPS receiver, digital camera, microphone-headset, voice-recognition software, GIS software, electronic note-taking software, geo-referenced data-sets, etc.  It can also be used in conjunction with peripherals, such as digital microscopes, magnetometers, and portable XRF units to provide in-the-field data integration and interpretation capabilities that bridge the disconnect between field-classroom or field-office activities and enable real-time decision making and planning. 

The term "geopad", in the context of this website, is used as short-hand for this innovative combination of hardware and software technologies.  It is not a specific piece of equipment or brand of equipment, but rather something that is straightforward to assemble, at reasonable cost, using regular, off-the-shelf components, and as a result is also easy to support.

The initial focus of the GeoPad project has been the use of such technologies in educational settings, in particular geology field courses; however, the benefits are generally applicable to almost any spatial-based field-science, such as ecology, archeology, geography, biology, anthropology, etc.  The technologies have also proven themselves useful outside of the educational setting, and represent important tools students will now likely encounter in their future academic or professional carriers.