App upgrade unlocks huge amounts of data previously only available in print or PDF
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (09/21/16) — A popular geosciences mobile app, developed by the University of Minnesota, just received a major upgrade. The free Flyover Country app now includes 53 new field trip guides for Colorado and surrounding states, including almost 400 field trip stops.
The Geological Society of America donated the data for the upgrade. The upgrade was announced today to more than 7,000 geologists and geoscience educators in advance of the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Sept. 25-28 in Denver.
“Adding these field trip guides is very exciting to professional and ‘armchair’ geologists alike,” said Amy Myrbo, a geologist at the University of Minnesota and one of the Flyover Country app developers. “The app unlocks huge amounts of information that used to be only available in print or PDF form. The new, easy-to-use field trip guides can be used for outreach, research and citizen science projects.”
Myrbo said one of the biggest advantages will be for instructors and high school and college students taking field trips.
“In the past, instructors had to carry five or more heavy, text-book sized field trip guides. Now they can have all the information on their phone and everyone can have their own copy—for free,” Myrbo said. “The guides are formatted for easy use and will show on the app’s map so they will be easy to find.”
Funded by the National Science Foundation, researchers in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Earth Sciences developed the Flyover Country in early 2016 for geoscience outreach and data discovery. Since its launch it has received more than 152,000 downloads.
The app analyzes relevant map data and geology points of interest during a flight or on the ground. It is ideal for road trips, hiking, and other outdoor activities, including field trips and geologic field work. Offline geologic maps and interactive points of interest reveal the locations of fossils and georeferenced Wikipedia articles visible from your road trip or hiking trail vista.
In addition to the new field trip guides from the Geological Society of America, the app integrates interactive geologic maps from Macrostrat.org, fossil localities from Neotomadb.org and Paleobiodb.org, Wikipedia articles, offline base maps, and the user’s current GPS determined location. In the future, more field trip guides will be added for more states.
“The Flyover Country map makes the excitement that geologists have with the environment available to everyone for free,” Myrbo said. “It shows how science and geology happens everywhere around us, even our backyard.”