Field Data Acquisition in the Great Outdoors

By Susan Smith
Editor, GISCafé and GISWeekly

GIS professionals seem to spend a lot of time in front of a screen-but where did their interest in geography and technology start out?

Many GISers start out with a love of the outdoors, and that's where tools like GPS and laser rangefinders can take them. That was the case on Sunday for the 94 participants in the Field Data Acquisition seminar, led by Linda Harman of Intergraph Corporation.

Not only did this seminar cover cost benefit analysis, selecting the appropriate field device, and re-engineering work procedures, but the event took attendees outdoors to test drive some of the latest technology, provided by vendors who brought laser rangefinders, GPS, viewers, and other technologies.

Granted, seminar participants were gathered outside the convention center next to a concrete planter, some distance from Pike's Peak. But enthusiastic attendees got a chance to try out positioning technology, and get cards punched by each vendor, which would then be turned in at the end of the seminar to be entered in a drawing for a free GPS unit.

Harman, who organized the seminar, said it drew presenters from such diverse locales as Canada, New York City, a small town in Tennessee, and Hawaii. "Presenters talked about how they'd used the applications and it offered attendees a wide range of case studies," said Harman. Russ Coffee of Austin Energy was one in attendance and said their company has a field data pilot project, adding, "we are open to whatever we see at this conference."

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