A geospatial lab kit…

I am sitting at my desk feeling slightly befuddled by my own question…”what would you put in a geospatial lab kit”. I want to move my fall class out of the class/lab regime to have them put feet to grass and get a better sense of the use of maps and data collection. My first instinct is to toss them a GPS and say ‘see you in an hour’ but we are at the stage where there are too many people in a class to break up into groups with our Trimbles and not yet at the point where I am ready to get a dozen consumer devices. Plus, this doesn’t give the students something that they can use after the class.

A quick Google search with variations gave me no ‘go to’ list that others offer up for use in their classes. Some things seem obvious like a compass and a copy of the local USGS quad, but what is the best balance between cool tools/toys (200 foot tape) and good expectation of costs ($10? $200?). Do you focus on mapping, how far into surveying do you go?

Like I said, befuddled. To begin to resolve my befuddlement I have decided to look at and list materials then go through and figure out what fits into my current structure or would require only minimal tweaks to fit into class or labs. At the same time I want hear what others are using in class or at work that would help someone just getting into Geography and geospatial technologies. Please email or leave suggestions in the comments. In a few days I will share my original list (with suggestions), the items I am probably going to require for class/lab in the fall, and then in the fall I will share how well the items are working out in my class.

Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas!


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Jesse is Instructor in Geography and a PhD candidate in Geography focusing on the integration of phenomenology and geospatial technologies to study prehistoric cultural landscape. He is a GIS Professional and Registered Professional Archaeologist and holds an MA in Geography and a BS in Anthropology with a concentration in archaeology.