Sutton, Frank . 1998. Field Automation Using Pen Computing and Laser Range Finder Technologies. 9823 1209. San Dimas, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, San Dimas Technology and Development Center. 15 p.
Recent advances in rugged field computers and powerful pen-based mapping software have prompted a reevaluation of the current methods used by the USDA Forest Service to capture geographic information system (GIS) data. The San Dimas Technology and Development Center (SDTDC) is exploring alternative feature positioning systems such as laser range finders. Combining this technology with a pen-based data management platform and global positioning systems (GPS) will potentially increase field data collection speed, quality, and efficiency. The -real-time+ mapping approach provided with current pen-based mapping software will minimize site revisits by providing the surveyor instant error checking while at the site, decreasing the likelihood of missing or incorrect data. Pen-based mapping software will interface with an array of data measurement or input devices, such as total stations, GPS receivers, laser range finders, and digital cameras. The main cause of errors in the field is the inability to immediately observe end results of data collection. Real-time mapping provides instant feedback so data can be seen as it is collected. Reduction of any raw measurements occurs immediately, and what is displayed on the field computer's screen is the map as it is being built.
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