iGEM corner: Future Talk

Pipe Dreams


Article two (February 2002):

Field Computer Applications

by Mete Oner

Now that we have our field computer, and already thought about how to do our interactive slope stability analysis with it, we can start thinking of what comes next.

Here is a wish list for you. We geotechs would like to be able to do these without leaving the office:

Some of these are actually possible today. I am sure a lot of geotechnical engineers are already aware of these. For those that are not here are few pointers.

How to find the maps? First check your office digital map library. All you have to do is tell your computer where your new project is located. If it is a primitive system you may have to enter the coordinates. But normally you should be able to zoom in right on your screen. You don't have the digital maps of the area yet? Just have your computer connect to DeLorme for the latest upgrades. As of this writing (Feb. 2002) MapTech has had all the USGS maps (yes, all 60,000 of them) already digitized!

To have a 3D look at your site, see Earth-Photo, who are already offering zoomable 3D photos, derived from digital data on the fly for you, for several states (Lousiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida). They claim any location in these states!

If you are still in denial of the 21st century we are in (computer age) and would really like to see your maps printed on organic paper (sheets of dead trees) then you can get them too:

To do your field testing from your office, you need to adopt one of the new technologies being published as in ejge, for example, the one-man CPT truck. It is only one step to being fully automated: What's missing is a wireless connection back to the office computer, where the computer in the truck automatically sends the data acquired back to the office computer, where everyone connected to the project can access anytime, anywhere. You have not set up your wirelss LAN yet? Check out AT&T or Verizon for example.

As you see, most of our pipe dreams are actually possible today. These are exciting times--A few years from now this article might really look stupid.

I sure hope you guys make it so!


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