About this CourseThis is an upper division summer field camp program for later-stage geoscience majors. Although Indiana University (IU) is a PhD-granting university, students come from many different types of schools around the USA. In a typical summer 30-40 different schools are represented.
Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 540kB Nov2 16)
I first integrated TLS into Indiana University field camp in 2010. It was an experiment as we were not aware of any other undergraduate programs, including both instrument courses or summer field courses, teaching TLS at the time. As always with teaching new topics, there were some challenges in figuring out how to best engage the students and keep them actively involved in the field and how to get data and software to individuals' computers. However their overall enthusiasm for the geophysics learning and their clear progress over just a few days – moving from basic survey design to applying it to different geologic research questions – has been truly satisfying. Since then we have gradually expanded the teaching materials to include more geologic applications and have added a computer cluster to our facilities which has addressed the problems of data uploading via a server and software already loaded and available. TLS has become a mainstay elective for students at the field camp – repeated every year since its start.
It can be a challenge to keep a dozen students involved and occupied when there is only one scanner, which only a few students can be operating at a time. These teaching materials fold in many years of experience in making sure that students experience all the different observations and activities needed to really understand how TLS works and the supporting data that needs to be collected. In addition to scanner operation students set up other equipment such as targets and GPS antennae, complete scan parameter worksheets to optimize the scan for the available time and research needs, and make traditional field observations and sketches. Thus TLS scanning becomes a tool that extends how they can observe Earth processes but is clearly still tied to fundamental field skills and math.
My Experience Teaching with GETSI MaterialsI have used all the units in the module except Unit 4: Change detection. The versions of Units 2 and 3 assignments were somewhat modified to fit the specific problems chosen in a given year and the associated field sites near the Indiana University Geologic Field Station.
Relationship of GETSI Materials to my Course
The summer field program, G429: Field Geology in the Rocky Mountains, is 7.5 weeks long. At the outset students learn fundamental field observation and mapping skills in a more supported environment with more faculty interaction. As the summer goes on students work increasingly independently from instructors and fellow students. Around the fifth week, they have the option to choose from four electives, including geophysics (TLS surveying).
I have always worked with a UNAVCO field engineer for the technical side of running the Riegl scanner and managing the data. UNAVCO has a process for requesting field geodesy education support. One of the particular challenges for using TLS in the intense IU field camp setting is the short turn around time between data collection (daytime) and analysis (evening). Students write up all their work individually even though they work in teams for data collection.