The project is developing a digital field geology (DFG) system that will enable a new generation of university-level courses in field geology. Electronic devices will simplify and accelerate the process of data collection in order to give students and instructors the opportunity to focus on critical thinking and data analysis in the field. The DFG system performs automated functions that closely emulate and complement traditional field methods, provides simple software "smart" tools that will aid in the collection and first-order analysis of field data and expedites and facilitates the translation of field data to a geographic infomration system (GIS) environment. The DFG system incorporates hardware and software advances such as wireless, hand-held devices with GPS cards, voice input, and networks links to access more powerful computers remotely.
The DFG system is innovative in its integration of the latest technologies with a distributed-type architectural design. While particularly well suited to the teaching fo field geology, this system should enhance the efficiency of proofessional geologist doing field-based research and could be readily adapted for commercial applications. A wesite will distribute software and aid faculty from other universities to adopt the DFG system for their courses and offers a forum for discussions on best practices for the development of technology-enabled research tools for field geology.