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.

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