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Sorry to be so brash, but that is borrowed from one of my favorite lines from Bender on Futurama.

I just returned from an anomalously rainy stint teaching field camp in SE Oregon. Things went great! On one particularly wet day we were given access to a country school that has more computers than students. High speed internet was freely available. Amazing. Anyway, this day gave me an opportunity to froth geologically to 18 young geology students (and 3 youngish TAs) who are deeply entrenched in the digital world. My lectures and demonstrations ran the gamut from the utter obviousness of photo geotagging; the amazing potential of the gigapan robot for capturing geological details in outcrops and geoscapes; the magic pens that aren’t digital but really are; how to visualize multiple data types in ArcGIS; and the utter joy of seeing hi-res LiDAR of your field area.

I learned that I grow weary of trying to convert my aging colleagues to modern methods…i.e. the ‘accept the inevitable or expect obsolescence’ stern, but entertaining lecture…but that it is downright satisfying to show these things off to the fertile minds of students. They are the next geological professionals anyway. Enough of you luddites!

Things really hit a peak when we fired up an LCD projector, yes, an LCD projector, at night, in the middle of freaking nowhere and looked at all of the GIS data and imagery that I have for the map area that each of us had hiked in all day. In this vein, the significance of the LiDAR became screamingly apparent to all, as did the geotagged photos. At first I chuckled when I noted that an LCD projector had been packed with the gear, but once we used it, the utter obviousness was overwhelming. Oh right, a Subaru Portable Inverter Single Phase Generator comes in handy as well.

Sidebar: I am lucky enough to spend nearly 50% of my time in the field in the outback of the American West. I am past the wilderness experience aspect of it. It is my job. It is nice to be able to call home on a Sat phone or even a cell phone. Having a computer and a projector to give field lectures in the evening during field camp is not much of a stretch for me…anymore!

IMGP2959View from the campsite. Yowza…that’s a lot of landslides!



  1. Beautiful countryside (and nice camp!).

  2. I agree with you 100% regarding technology in the field .

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