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Mobile geospatial technologies

Enhancing fieldwork in geography

October 2012

Brisbane Catholic Education Contour Education

Importance of good geography You arent using ICTs for the sake of using ICTs, you are using ICTs to assist you in teaching geography; to help your students identify patterns, make connections and draw conclusions. Good geography is the desired outcome and make sure that is your overarching goal. Wi-fi access Some devices are not 3G or 4G enabled and a portable wi-fi hotspot may be necessary to use these devices in the field. Some applications allow you to pre-cache information so that it is stored on your device while you are connected to wi-fi. Check the details of each application.

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Contour Education, 2012

In the field

Mobile geospatial applications allow students to see their location while they are on- the-go. Different apps have different features; some are exclusively for geocaching, some replicate the functions of a traditional GPS receiver while others simply display already existing maps. These technologies can be used by students to view their location and nearby features, find hidden objects such as geocaches, record their location or a track while in the field and display information relevant to their location.

Classroom applications
Google Maps: App: Google Maps (free) Save locations easily for later use; if the location is matched with meaningful data it could be used to display that information later either online or in the field via Google Earth or Maps (e.g. water quality or survey data). Geocaching: Apps: Geocaching (free and paid) and Looking 4 cache (free and paid) Conduct a treasure hunt around the school grounds Create challenging and/or topical puzzles to reveal each location Use preloaded geocaches to move your students around the field View this great resource for using geocaching in the classroom, make sure you view the presentation <>

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Apps: Viewranger (free and paid) or

MotionX GPS (paid) Collect locational data as a point (POI) or track Integrate your locations with data collected in the field Record hiking or walking tracks for display in other applications, such as Google Earth Share your data for use in other tools such as Google Earth

ArcGIS App: ArcGIS (free-requires free registration) Display previously created maps while in the field.

Google Maps <> Geocaching <> Viewranger < open/id404581674?mt=8> Looking 4 cache <> ArcGIS <>
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Managing field data

Once field data has been collected, there are other specialty applications that are used to manage that data. These apps allow your students to manage their geocaches and geocaching profile, manage their GPS data collected in the field, export and add to locational data and display high quality maps for analysis in the classroom. Here we can take the points and tracks that were collected in the field and add other data to them, for instance water quality data.

Classroom applications
Students can: Log geocaches once they have been collected in the field Manage saved geocaches Manage saved GPS data including waypoints (or POIs), tracks and routes Export and import data from one application to another Join data to your locational data for analysis Create maps for use in reports, infographics or presentations.

Resources <> <> ArcGIS Explorer Online <> AGXO classroom resource from Department of Natural Resources and Mines < visualising-water-quality-web.pdf>

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Static geospatial applications

There are a wide range of geography-related applications that are not geospatial. These consist mainly of geography themed games, quizzes, atlases and specialist applications such as the Pacific Disaster Centres Disaster alert.

Classroom applications
These applications may be used as a reward for students, to gather relevant information or media, or to explore a particular topic such as natural hazards.

Disaster alert <> iEarthquakes lite <> Geophoto explorer <>

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QR Codes
QR codes, right, are essentially barcodes on steroids. They need to be read with a specialist application and once read, will do something. They can direct the device to a website, open a location in a map, point to a YouTube video, call a telephone number, send an email, generate a calendar event, open text, even log into a wi-fi network, and more. In the classroom, they can be used as tools to move students around an area or point them to particular resources. QR codes can be generated on any number of websites and are very easy to do. QR Stuff is a simple, free start.

Classroom applications
Use YouTube or an audio recording site to put yourself in the field with your students. Ask them questions, inform them and get them thinking about the issues in a more engaging way than via your fieldwork booklet. Create a QR code based quiz where students are asked a question and given two answers, both with QR codes. Only one leads to the next location, the other to a dead end!

QR Stuff free QR code generator <> Record mp3 free audio recorder URL <>

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Contour Education, 2012