FreshAiR and Field Studies—Augmenting Geological Reality with Mobile Devices
Abstract:During the last decade, mobile devices have fomented a revolution in geological mapping. Present Clinton set the stage for this revolution in the year 2000 when he ordered a cessation to Selective Availability, making reliable GPS available for civilian use. Geologists began using personal digital assistants and ruggedized tablet PCs for geolocation and data recording and the pace of change accelerated with the development of mobile apps such as Google Maps, digital notebooks, and digital compass-clinometers. Despite these changes in map-making technologies, most students continue to learn geology in the field the old-fashioned way, by following a field trip leader as a group and trying to hear and understand lecturettes at the outcrop.
In this presentation, we demonstrate the potential of a new Augment Reality (AR) mobile app called "FreshAiR" to change fundamentally the way content-knowledge and learning objectives are delivered to students in the field. FreshAiR, which was developed by co-author and ODU alumnus M.D., triggers content delivery to mobile devices based on proximity. Students holding their mobile devices to the horizon see trigger points superimposed on the field of view of the device's built-in camera. When they walk towards the trigger, information about the location pops up. This can include text, images, movies, and quiz questions (multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank). Students can use the app to reinforce the field trip leader's presentations or they can visit outcrops individuals at different times. This creates the possibility for asynchronous field class, a concept that has profound implications for distance education in the geosciences.