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Geology field trips at your fingertips

08 Aug 2013

An exciting new innovation which will change the way students participate in field trips is about to be launched by the EPS eLearning Team.

In a joint endeavour between the School of Earth Sciences, the Manchester Museum, Mimas and EPS eLearning, funded by an award from the Your Manchester Fund, the project is a geology field trip ‘app’ which allows the user to undertake an MSc field trip around Castleton and Mam Tor using their smartphone/tablet as a ‘pocket geologist’!

The app uses Augmented Reality technology to provide directions for the route, a full audio commentary, a tool to help find fossils and a few other goodies along the way. 

Born from an initial discussion between Dr Stephen Boult, Programme Director in the School of Earth Sciences and the EPS eLearning team, it was recognised that the student population was changing, with more distance learners taking up courses. Whilst written assignments could easily be distributed and submitted on-line, the problem was how to involve these students in field trips.

The app uses third party software whilst the content and technical know-how has been provided by all the interested parties at the University and will enable distance-learners to undertake self-service field trips at their own convenience.

Being used as a pilot scheme, the intention is to roll out the app as a free download to other Universities and members of the public, whilst continuing to extend the content to include other field trip locations.

Ian Hutt, Distance Learning Lead in the EPS eLearning Team said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before. We’re really trying to push the envelope, add something new and try to involve people outside of the University to share the excellence that we have.”

A “Discover Geology’ launch event has been scheduled for 15 August with a currently full coach of University staff and members of the public, leaving from Manchester Museum to test out the app in situ, weather permitting! More field trips are planned for pupils from the Droylsden Academy later in the year.

Further information

For more information about the app and its content: