IkeGPS Geological Case Study


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IkeGPS Geological Case Study

  1. 1. Surveylab Case StudyIndustry: Environmental – Geologic MappingikeGPS solution: ikeGPS205User: Department of Geology, University of Dayton, Ohio, USASafe and easy geological mapping in challengingenvironments now part of University of DaytonGeology curriculumDr. Allen McGrew, Chair of the Geology Department at the University of Dayton in New Zealand, recording geologic data in the field using a handheld ikeGPS205 unit(image courtesy Brian Joyce).Over are the days of manual calculations, wet notebooks and wandering in precarious weather andlocations on geology field trips. With today’s advances in field mapping technology, only one ruggedhandheld GPS system is required to map geological features, take field notes and efficiently link thecaptured data to an office master database. The University of Dayton in Ohio, USA, has been successfullytrialling and using ikeGPS205 for field and course work since 2009. The remarkably integrated andsimple-to-use features of Surveylab’s ikeGPS and its remote data capture capabilities from a singlelocation have contributed to help students visualize geologic processes, while speeding the fieldwork datapost-processing and mapping stages. ikeGPS assists in consistently collecting reliable field data in ruggedenvironments. By teaching students the latest field mapping technologies, the University of Dayton ispreparing more and more students to the workforce each year.Integrating new GPS technologies in the Department of Geology curriculumField trips have always been the highlight of any Earth Science course. Students can see for themselvesevolving landscapes and how the underlying geology shapes and influences the surface environment.At university level, geology students are taught how to identify different geologic formations, measureand record how and where they occur.Traditional data collection of surface and sub-surface geologic formations and capturing standardstructural geologic data such as pitch, strike and dip is still mostly carried out with analog instrumentssuch as the Brunton compass. And, as with most manual procedures, errors can and do enter intothe equation.ikeGPS website - CS Geological Final Ex Comments 1|6 January 2011
  2. 2. Surveylab Case StudyDr. Allen McGrew, Chair of the Geology Department at the University of Dayton, was wanting to bankon new GPS technology to enable faster and accurate methods for capturing precise location data ongeology fieldtrips. This was also to better train and equip students for a new era in field studies throughthe linking of a newly developed graduate certificate program in Geographic Information Systems(GIS) and majors in geology and environmental geology offered by the Department of Geologyat the University of Dayton. “We like students to know exactly what they are doing when they take field measurements withanalog instruments. But once they understand the process, it is much faster to use a digital datacapture device…. And, of course, once they graduate and start working in the industry, they’ll beusing digital units. It is essential that we train them on the most up-to-date technology.”“We acquired our first ikeGPS205 units primarily for field research,” says Dr. McGrew, “but we quicklysaw their potential as a teaching tool. We are presently in the process of upgrading to the ikeGPS1000”.Data integration is key for understanding an area’s geologyAfter experimenting with the ikeGPS for fieldwork in Nevada and Colorado during the summer of2009, Dr. McGrew worked with University of Dayton colleagues Dan Goldman and Umesh Haritashyato organise a New Zealand field course in May 2010 with 11 students. Not only would they employikeGPS to train students in field data capture techniques, but they would also meet the Wellington-based Surveylab developers of ikeGPS to receive advanced training and expert advice on how toget the most out of the units.The ikeGPS205 units trialled in New Zealand included a built-in digital compass-inclinometer, a 3.2megapixel digital camera that can geo-tag digital images as well as a laser range finder for capturingprecise location data for features up to 1000 meters away. ikeGPS units are also optimized for fastdata capture and pre-processing in the field.“In addition to [ikeGPS] being an all-purpose geological field mapping tool for locating the position of rockunits in the field, we can also collect geo-referenced field photographs, field notes on our observationsat the sites of interest and use the compass-inclinometer to measure and record orientations of linearor planar features in the rocks (such as bedding planes, fold hingelines, fault surfaces, etc). The data isthen imported automatically into ArcGIS, thus building our geologic map as we work and allowing us tovisualize and interpret the results. We also use ikeGPS to document the field context of localities wherewe collect samples,” says Dr McGrew.“We expect to use ikeGPS to measure and photograph complete, georeferenced stratigraphic sequencesin sedimentary rocks,” continues Dr. McGrew. “These are all basic aspects of the practice of field geology.The basic raw data can be utilized in a wide variety of ways depending on the situation - to build ageologic history of an area, to delineate the large-scale structure of an area (which may be important inhydrocarbon exploration or even geothermal prospecting), to map ore bodies or to evaluate geohazardssuch as landslides, etc.”“Being able to take digital maps into the field and then correlate the data that we capture to those mapshelps students to visualize the processes,” says Anthony Asher, a recent graduate and a teaching assistantfor the New Zealand field course, as well as one of the first students to pursue the new GIS certificateprogram. “Plus the ability to capture images of particular formations and outcrops and place themdigitally on the map is a big bonus.”ikeGPS website - CS Geological Final Ex Comments 2|6 January 2011
  3. 3. Surveylab Case StudyESRI’s ArcGIS system integration facilitates field data post-processingThe ArcPad Application Builder integrated in ikeGPS gives users the opportunity to develop theirown specialized field data capture applications and customise data entry forms to suit their purpose.Surveylab, as an ESRI Business Partner, worked closely with ESRI’s New Zealand’s distributor EagleTechnology Group, to ensure the ikeGPS series would be 100% compatible with ArcPad. “We immediatelysaw the value of Surveylab’s vision,” says Matt Lythe, GIS Sales Manager at Eagle Technology Group.“We advised Surveylab’s developers as they customized the APIs between ArcPad and their firmwareso ArcPad would run seamlessly on the units. In addition we helped them develop methodologies tohelp their clients use ArcPad Application Builder to create forms for faster, more accurate attributedata capture in the field.”Having ArcPad running natively on GPS units facilitates the time-consuming tasks of uploadingand downloading data. “Being able to synchronise the data directly from ArcPad into ArcGIS savestremendous amounts of time back in the office by eliminating the manual digitizing of line work andthe transcription of field data and notations,” says McGrew. “Again, we like the students to know thebackground processes, but once they understand the basics, we can focus on teaching geology insteadof spending time manually capturing and transcribing field notations.”Upon their return from the New Zealand field trip, the University of Dayton glaciologist, Dr. Haritashya,created an exercise using satellite imagery compiled in ArcGIS to document the glaciers’ rapid retreatin historical times. “When we return in the future we will be able to overlay our own newly-capturedgeo-referenced images to document exactly how much the glaciers have receded. It is this type ofreal-time graphic display that really makes geology come alive for students,” says McGrew.ikeGPS website - CS Geological Final Ex Comments 3|6 January 2011
  4. 4. Surveylab Case StudyUniversity of Dayton students on a field trip around Mt Cook in New Zealand. ikeGPS205 was used in constantly changing weather conditions and dangerous environments.The users obtained consistent data capture results, enjoyed continuous GPS signals and remained safe at all times.Consistent unit performance in rugged environmentsDuring a one-month geology field course, ikeGPS units were trialled in typical New Zealand conditions.“We had warm sunshine, mist, rain, sleet and snow,” notes Dr. McGrew, “and that was just in onemorning! One of the challenges we expected in such weather was losing the GPS signal, but at Mt.Cook, I hiked up to Sealy Tarns, high above both the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers in heavy snow anddensely overcast conditions and never lost the GPS signal once. On another occasion, Dr. Haritashyaand I were able to map a terminal moraine position using the laser range finder. I was surprised at howwell the range finder worked, even under misty conditions, returning data – including images - on manydifferent features from a single location. We also appreciated the fact that we didn’t have to write downfield notes in the cold rain.”Fast and safe data capture in potentially dangerous locationsAnother advantage of using the ikeGPS units in the field is the ability of the laser rangefinder to capturedata under overhangs or in heavy foliage. “In the field we follow rock exposures up hills, down slopes andunder overhangs,” says Dr. McGrew. “With ikeGPS, we can stand near the bottom of a cliff and capturestratigraphic contacts without climbing. Not only is this faster but safer. In addition, cliffs sometimes blockthe GPS signal. With ikeGPS, we can step back to obtain a signal and then use the laser rangefinder tolocate the position we are interested in at the base of the cliff.”ikeGPS website - CS Geological Final Ex Comments 4|6 January 2011
  5. 5. Surveylab Case StudyMore students will benefit from using ikeGPSDr McGrew plans to incorporate ikeGPS into more and more of the Department’s coursework as they gainmore experience. “It is very exciting to be able to incorporate the benefits of the ikeGPS unit into ourteaching,” he says. “Learning how to capture geologic data in the field is a crucial aspect of our student’straining. Any technology we can apply that makes it faster, easier, safer and more accurate will be a bighelp in our fieldwork. We’ll take some of the data we captured on our New Zealand field trip and processit during the upcoming semesters. And, if all goes well, we’ll capture even more data next summer.I myself plan to take the units into the field for my research and expect to train even more studentson how to operate the ikeGPS alongside ArcPad.”“I think that the ikeGPS1000 is going to be an extremely useful piece of equipment for geological fieldmapping,” concludes McGrew. “I still have some questions and problems to resolve, but it performsmuch better than any other handheld GPS unit we’ve used. I’m looking forward to using it on moresustained projects.”Dr. Allen McGrew reviews geo-referenced photos in the field at the historic Chaffey Hut in the Cobb Valley (image courtesy Dan Goldman).AT A GLANCEKey reasons Department of Geology at University of Dayton selected the ikeGPS205 unit • Ease-of-use and integrated features into a single handheld rugged device • Laser rangefinder allowing data capture for multiple points from a distance, from a single and safe location • Compatibility and seamless integration with ESRI’s ArcGIS and ArcPad • Knowledgeable staff and expert supportKey benefits • Enhanced GPS field capture capabilities to help students visualize geologic processes • Teaching students with the latest technology to prepare them for the workforce • Integration between ikeGPS205 and ArcGIS speeds up the geologic mapping process and data post-processing • Consistent unit performance in rugged environments • Fast and safe data capture in potentially dangerous locationsikeGPS website - CS Geological Final Ex Comments 5|6 January 2011
  6. 6. Surveylab Case StudyTechnology used • ikeGPS205 series GPS data collection unit from Surveylab • ESRI ArcGIS • ArcPad Mobile GIS softwareCustomer quote:“We acquired our first ike205 units primarily for field research,” says Dr. McGrew, “but we quickly sawtheir potential as a teaching tool. We are presently in the process of upgrading to the ikeGPS1000…It performs much better than any other handheld GPS unit we’ve used”. - Dr. Allen McGrew, Chair of the Geology Department at the University of DaytonFor more information please contact:Richard TaylorVice President - ikeGPS Americasrichard.taylor@ikegps.comoffice: (281) 681 0356fax: (281) 681 9252www.ikeGPS.comDr. Allen J. McGrew, ChairDepartment of GeologyThe University of Dayton(397) 229-3455Allen.mcgrew@notes.udayton.eduMatt LytheGIS Sales ManagerEagle Technology GroupWellington, NZ+64-4-802-1400 / Matt_lythe@eagle.co.nzwww.eagle.co.nzikeGPS website - CS Geological Final Ex Comments 6|6 January 2011