Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 20:57:22
A long time since the last blog! With a week’s leave and a week in Swansea (Gower Peninsular) on a First Year fieldtrip, there’s not been much time. The fieldtrip had nothing but stunning weather (see piccie), so really not an introduction to geography fieldwork ;) Anyway, on the project day I had my group of students using a low cost handheld GPS (Geko 201) to create tracklogs of some footpath surveys they were doing. Footpaths are a real hot topic in the UK as governing bodies are required to establish rights-of-way, as well as maintain them. We thought it would be interesting to see what the situation on Gower, in comparison to marked rights on 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey maps, was like.
What was interesting was that all my students had heard of GPS (although they didn’t understand how it worked). What was perhaps most surprising was that only 1 out of 12 had actually used one. What I find astonishing about the current crop of low cost units (and at £75 I think these really are low cost) is that not only are they very small, with a long battery life, but that the onboard software is genuinely intuitive and easy to use. A massive step on from the old “handheld” Magellan units the department bought a decade ago.