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BGS Sigmamobile for geological field data

By Colm Jordan

Abstract

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has been developing innovative\ud systems to collect digital field observations data for geological\ud mapping for over 20 years. The culmination of our labours is a Tablet\ud PC system (BGS•SIGMAmobile) which is currently used to collect\ud and utilise digital field data across the globe. BGS geoscientists use\ud BGS•SIGMAmobile in some of the harshest environments in the world\ud from the sweltering heat of the Emirates to subzero temperatures\ud in the Antarctic, encompassing all possible terrains in between from\ud the tropical rainforests of Madagascar to the Cairngorm Mountains in\ud Scotland (see Figure 1).\ud Following an evaluation of existing technologies in 2001, it was\ud evident that none provided the functionality to collect the full range\ud of data required by BGS geoscientists. We began by developing a PDA\ud (Personal Digital Assistant) system for point data capture, however the\ud advent of rugged Tablet PCs with their larger screens and increased\ud processing power meant that full digital survey and mapping tools\ud could be placed into the geologists’ hands.\ud The Tablet PC platform enabled us to heavily customise and link\ud ESRI ArcGIS and MS Access systems and utilise handwriting\ud recognition tools such as Inkwriter. The result is an integrated\ud field mapping system based on those software packages that has\ud been successfully implemented in many geoscience applications\ud from traditional geological mapping to landslide monitoring and\ud earthquake damage assessment. Having designed the system with\ud geologists testing every step of the way, it provides a considered\ud balance of structured input using drop-down menus along with free\ud text and sketches where appropriate

Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:12569

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