Logan awarded tablets/PDAs for mobile GIS/GPS

Dr. Joanne Logan of the Biosystems Engineering & Environmental Science Department has been awarded an equipment and software grant to explore the use of mobile Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with students. The technology package, from the UT Innovative Technology Center's 2004 Wireless Instructional Initiatives project, will be used with students in four separate courses.

Mobile GIS is an emerging technology that integrates three essential components - the global positioning system (GPS), rugged handheld computers, and GIS software. Using wireless technology, mobile GIS makes an enterprise database directly accessible to field-based personnel -- whenever and wherever it is required. Tablet PCs and PDAs equipped with digital cameras are used in the field for data collection with a mobile GIS application such as ArcPad.

While in the field, students will be in groups scattered around the agricultural campus, using their wireless devices to communicate with the professor and other students. An instant messaging tool and surveying or voting software will be used for real-time feedback on problems and solutions. Having the students connected to the instructor during the exercise will allow instant feedback from the instructor, to direct the students on how they can improve or rework their data collection and display.

Joel Lown

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