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Geologic Data Assistant (GDA): An ArcPad Extension for Geologic Mapping
Entry ID: USGS_GDA
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Summary
Abstract: GDA (Geologic Data Assistant) is an extension to ArcPad, a mobile mapping software program by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) designed to run on personal digital assistant (PDA) computers. GDA and ArcPad allow a PDA to replace the paper notebook and field map traditionally used for geologic mapping. GDA allows easy collection of field data that include:

-Station location as determined by GPS, map inspection, or as a bearing and distance offset from an existing station

-Map unit and related lithologies

-Outcrop characteristics

-Structural orientations

-Contacts, faults, and other linear features

-Information about samples

-Information about photographs

-Extended free-form text

-Sketches

-Miscellaneous map annotation

[Summary provided by the USGS.]

Related URL
Link: GET SERVICE > GET SOFTWARE PACKAGE
Description: Download the Geologic Data Assistant on a Windows PC.

Link: GET SERVICE > GET SOFTWARE PACKAGE
Description: Download the Geologic Data Assistant on a Windows CE device.

Link: VIEW RELATED INFORMATION
Description: Information on ArcPad.
Service Citation
Originators: Evan E. Thoms and Ralph A. Haugerud
Title: Geologic Data Assistant (GDA): An ArcPad Extension for Geologic Mapping
Release_Date: 2006
Provider: U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1097/
ISO Topic Category
GEOSCIENTIFIC INFORMATION
IMAGERY/BASE MAPS/EARTH COVER
Access Constraints
Required hardware and software

Windows CE / PocketPC PDA:

ArcPad, and thus GDA, runs on the Windows CE 3.0 (or greater) operating system,
also known as the PocketPC operating system. It can also be installed on
Windows-based desktop, laptop, or tablet computers. It does not work on Palm or
Linux devices. Most WinCE computers are adequate. When selecting a PDA, pay
particular attention to display readability, communications capabilities,
battery life, the quality of the digitizer, memory capacity, and speed. We are
currently using Hewlett-Packard iPAQs with 400MHz processors, 64MB memory, and
240 x 320 pixel 16-bit color daylight-readable displays.

Extra battery:

An extended-capacity battery, or an expansion pack with an additional battery,
is desirable. You would like to have enough power for continuous operation
throughout a 14-hour field day. When using a GPS it is especially useful to set
your PDA to never shut off. One reason for this is simply efficiency, but the
other is that turning a PDA off without first disconnecting the com port often
causes the PDA to lock up so that it can only be reset with a soft reboot. The
largest drains on the battery are the intensity of the backlight and the length
of time it is on, so set your backlight to dim to nothing after a short period
of inactivity.

Extra non-volatile memory:

Use a Compact Flash card, Secure Digital card, or other non-volatile memory for
mapping project workspace. This provides storage for large raster images and
guards against data loss when, inevitably, you forget and let the PDA battery
run down. We use expansion packs that provide both a Compact Flash slot and an
additional battery. Be aware that unless you store programs in a non-volatile
space on your PDA, ArcPad will evaporate from memory if the battery dies. As a
backup in the field, keep a PC nearby from which you can re-install ArcPad.

Bluetooth:

Bluetooth (a short distance device-to-device radio protocol) is excellent for
communication between the PDA and a GPS unit. Cable connections between GPS and
PDA are fragile, inconvenient, and hard to make waterproof.

Screen protector:

Protect the PDA screen from abrasion with a self-adhesive replaceable plastic
screen protector (check Office Depot or a similar supplier.)

Case:

The PDA probably won't survive a 4-ft drop onto bedrock. Get a rugged case that
provides significant shock-proofing. Consider third-party cases (such as
Otterbox) as well as cases available through your PDA manufacturer. Such cases
can also be waterproof, with a clear vinyl window over the PDA screen--but if
you retain this window, omit any additional screen protector.

3rd-party stylus

A third-party stylus with a pocket clip or lanyard is handy. Multifunction
instruments that combine a stylus with a pen or pencil (or both) are available
for under fifteen dollars.
Use Constraints
Required hardware and software

Windows CE / PocketPC PDA:

ArcPad, and thus GDA, runs on the Windows CE 3.0 (or greater) operating system,
also known as the PocketPC operating system. It can also be installed on
Windows-based desktop, laptop, or tablet computers. It does not work on Palm or
Linux devices. Most WinCE computers are adequate. When selecting a PDA, pay
particular attention to display readability, communications capabilities,
battery life, the quality of the digitizer, memory capacity, and speed. We are
currently using Hewlett-Packard iPAQs with 400MHz processors, 64MB memory, and
240 x 320 pixel 16-bit color daylight-readable displays.

Extra battery:

An extended-capacity battery, or an expansion pack with an additional battery,
is desirable. You would like to have enough power for continuous operation
throughout a 14-hour field day. When using a GPS it is especially useful to set
your PDA to never shut off. One reason for this is simply efficiency, but the
other is that turning a PDA off without first disconnecting the com port often
causes the PDA to lock up so that it can only be reset with a soft reboot. The
largest drains on the battery are the intensity of the backlight and the length
of time it is on, so set your backlight to dim to nothing after a short period
of inactivity.

Extra non-volatile memory:

Use a Compact Flash card, Secure Digital card, or other non-volatile memory for
mapping project workspace. This provides storage for large raster images and
guards against data loss when, inevitably, you forget and let the PDA battery
run down. We use expansion packs that provide both a Compact Flash slot and an
additional battery. Be aware that unless you store programs in a non-volatile
space on your PDA, ArcPad will evaporate from memory if the battery dies. As a
backup in the field, keep a PC nearby from which you can re-install ArcPad.

Bluetooth:

Bluetooth (a short distance device-to-device radio protocol) is excellent for
communication between the PDA and a GPS unit. Cable connections between GPS and
PDA are fragile, inconvenient, and hard to make waterproof.

Screen protector:

Protect the PDA screen from abrasion with a self-adhesive replaceable plastic
screen protector (check Office Depot or a similar supplier.)

Case:

The PDA probably won't survive a 4-ft drop onto bedrock. Get a rugged case that
provides significant shock-proofing. Consider third-party cases (such as
Otterbox) as well as cases available through your PDA manufacturer. Such cases
can also be waterproof, with a clear vinyl window over the PDA screen--but if
you retain this window, omit any additional screen protector.

3rd-party stylus

A third-party stylus with a pocket clip or lanyard is handy. Multifunction
instruments that combine a stylus with a pen or pencil (or both) are available
for under fifteen dollars.
Service Provider
Publications-Western Region,Geological Division, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior

Service Provider Personnel
Name: MICHAEL F. DIGGLES
Phone: (650) 329-5404
Email: mdiggles at usgs.gov
Contact Address:
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road
Mail Stop 531
City: Menlo Park
Province or State: CA
Postal Code: 94025
Country: USA
Distribution Media
Distribution_Media: Online
Fees: No fees
Personnel
TYLER B. STEVENS
Role: SERF AUTHOR
Phone: (301) 614-6898
Fax: 301-614-5268
Email: Tyler.B.Stevens at nasa.gov
Contact Address:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Global Change Master Directory
City: Greenbelt
Province or State: MD
Postal Code: 20771
Country: USA

RALPH HAUGERUD
Role: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Phone: (206) 553-5542
Fax: (206) 553-8350
Email: haugerud at u.washington.edu
Email: rhaugerud at usgs.gov
Contact Address:
U.S. Geological Survey at University of Washington
Dept. Earth and Space Sciences
Box 351310
City: Seattle
Province or State: Washington
Postal Code: 98195
Country: USA

EVAN THOMS
Role: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Phone: (907) 786-7409
Fax: (907) 786-7491
Email: ethoms at usgs.gov
Contact Address:
U.S. Geological Survey
Western Region Earth Surface Processes Team
4200 University Drive
City: Anchorage
Province or State: AK
Postal Code: 99508
Country: USA
Publications/References
Haugerud, R.A., and Thoms, E.E., 2004, Geologic Data Assistant (GDA): an ArcPad
extension for geologic mapping , in Soller, D.R., editor, Digital Mapping
Techniques '04: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 04-1451,
http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1451/haugerud/index.html.
Creation and Review Dates
SERF Creation Date: 2006-06-09
SERF Last Revision Date: 2011-03-21
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