Geospike – the Social Travel Journal
Geospike is a free app for iOS and Android devices, while upgrading to Geospike PRO will cost just €5.99. There is a supporting online platform and website at www.geospike.com, from which you can sign up for a monthly newsletter and join an online community of users. The app allows instant recording of a data ‘spike’ of your location in the field (using the internal GPS of the mobile device) to which you can attach photos, videos & field notes. The Geospike app works offline to allow data capture anywhere in the field and automatically records location, time and date. Creating a user profile enables you to access your data within the app and/or online and produce a log of all of your field sites across the world. There is a range of base maps enabling you to create annotated maps and galleries of your travels. You can export your data or share your field log with others using email or social media.
For a quick demo of how to use the app, watch this 1.06min YouTube video
The Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Team
We are a group of academics working together to promote fieldwork in Higher Education curricula and researching ways to enhance field learning through the use of mobile technologies.
*Derek France, Katharine Welsh & Vicky Powell (University of Chester, UK)
*Julian Park & Alice Mauchline (University of Reading, UK)
*Brian Whalley (University of Sheffield, UK)
We have used Geospike to log our field sites in Iceland with Final year undergraduates from the University of Reading, UK and the University of Akureyri, Iceland on a joint Microbiology field-based module led by Dr Rob Jackson.
(L to R: Vicky, Katharine, Alice, Derek, Julian, Brian)¦ Website: www.enhancingfieldwork.org.uk ¦ Twitter: @fieldwork_ntf
Case Study of the use of Geospike in field teaching
Fig 1. Example data ‘spikes’ of sampling techniques and field sites
Microbiology students are often provided with microbial samples to work with in the lab without a real appreciation of the environment from which it was taken. Rob Jackson developed a field-based module to provide final year students with an environmental understanding of microbial extremophiles and to develop the students’ field sampling skills (read more at http://tinyurl.com/pvkgac2). We provided a class set of iPads to support and engage the students in their learning on the fieldcourse and to facilitate communication between the students and staff in the large multi-national team.The students were asked to log into a group Geospike account and use the app to record the exact location of each of their field sampling sites and take field notes to record the environmental conditions (e.g. weather conditions, physical details of the site, habitat type). They were also asked to attach representative photos of the local environment and of any specific field methods employed (Fig 1.).
Fig. 2. Examples of maps at different spatial scales created using Geospike
After the field excursions, students were then asked to log in to the group GeoSpike account to produce maps at suitable scales for their presentations and reports (Fig. 2). The shared Geospike log provided the student group with a permanent record of the field location and environmental conditions from which their microbial samples were taken. The student group then conducted several laboratory-based experiments using a variety of the field samples and were able to refer to the Geospike database for records of the field locations.
- Geospike provided the group with an efficient and accurate way to capture, store, share and display location data during fieldwork.
- This approach enabled the student groups to co-create a novel dataset of potentially important microbial extremophile samples with a visual and geo-tagged record of the field sampling techniques.
- It ensured that the students made the conceptual link between the environmental selection pressures they witnessed in the field and the adaptations displayed by the bacteria and viruses they collected.
- “The Geospike Log was very helpful to get the exact location where we took our sample”
- “I was impressed with the GPS and sampling facilities [of the iPad]”
- “Brings together several useful applications in one place… so we don’t need three or four pieces of equipment”
- Add a clip-on microscope to the iPad to allow the capture of detailed images in the field (e.g. www.olloclip.com)
- Consider using a group Geospike account to easily collate student field data.
- Work offline in the field using mobile devices to avoid the need for internet connection (however, wi-fi-only tablet devices do not have such GPS capability).
- Use this app can be used to build up a long term data repository as successive trips visit the same area.
Please contact Alice Mauchline (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Derek France (email@example.com) if you wish to find out more about using Geospike in field teaching or about the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Project.
Further reading and resources are available:
- Case study 7: iPads as digital Field Notebooks in Microbiology Fieldwork (Alice Mauchline and Rob Jackson) in: France, D., Whalley, W. B., Mauchline, A., Powell, V., Welsh, K., Lerczak, A., Park, J. and Bednarz, R. (2015) Enhancing fieldwork learning using mobile technologies. Springer Briefs in Ecology. Springer, Cham, pp 173. ISBN 9783319209661
- Welsh, K. E., Mauchline, A., Powell, V., France, D., Park, J. R. and Whalley, W. B. (2015) Student perceptions of iPads as mobile learning devices for fieldwork. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 39 (3). pp. 450-469.
- France, D., Whalley, B. and Mauchline, A. (2013) Using mobile devices to enhance undergraduate field research. CUR Quarterly, 34 (2). pp. 38-42.
- Welsh, K. E., Mauchline, A. L., Park, J. R., Whalley, W. B. and France, D. (2013) Enhancing fieldwork learning with technology: practitioner’s perspectives. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 37 (3). pp. 399-415.
Either tweet using #12appsDIT and @fieldwork_ntf, and/or post in the comments section at the bottom of the page, to share your thoughts on how you might use Geospike in your teaching.
Have a go at using Geospike! Create a username and password at www.geospike.com and go outside…. Make a ‘spike’, add a photograph of something of interest and then share it on Twitter using the hashtag #12appsDIT and @fieldwork_ntf.