Environmental studies have always been associated with fieldwork, which is still carried out in rather conventional ways. At the same time it is well known that these fieldworks consume considerable parts of the research budgets while collected data has often not the desired quality and data collection methods tend to interrupt the whole research process. Now the usage of mobile GIS systems is drastically altering the outdoor work and solving or reducing many of the associated problems. This paper describes how the usage of mobile GIS technology during a hydrological fieldwork campaign in the Algarve (Portugal) addresses several of the traditional fieldwork problems and how the involvement of students can have a double positive side-effect. The evaluation showed that the new method enables researchers to collect and record reliable spatial data in a more uniform and efficient way, which saves time that could be used to analyze and process data during the fieldwork. Even more, using the mobile GIS system, the researcher is able to retrieve important hydrological information when he or she is in the field. Further work is planned on the improvement of field communication and data-exchange possibility for guidance and feedback from specialists at the office.
Proceedings of SPIE – SPIE
Published: Oct 6, 2005
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