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Improving Monitoring of Heritage Sites

[photo] The components of the mobile computing toolkit, displayed on a grassy area under a tree.Thousands of heritage sites are found or monitored annually during field work. In most cases, information such as the site's contents, age, condition, National Register significance, size, and location is transcribed from handwritten field notes. The USDA Forest Service is field testing a mobile computing toolkit, which can save time and improve accuracy by providing electronic copies of field information in addition to the handwritten notes. The toolkit includes a handheld PC (iPAQ), a global positioning system unit, a digital camera, a laser rangefinder, and a SmartPad. The SmartPad allows notes written on paper to be recorded with a special pen that transmits the information to the hand-held PC.

Other field tests are being conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, the University of Georgia, and the University of Alabama. The toolkits cost about $5,400, or $2,500 excluding software, such as Pathfinder Office and Arc View, which are already licensed for USDA Forest Service users. A user's guide and a report on the toolkit are scheduled for publication in 2005.

For further information about the toolkit, contact Ellen Eubanks, project leader (phone: 909–599–1267, ext. 225; e-mail:

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