Bjorn Wiberg, Geological Survey of Sweden, Uppsala
Two years ago I decided to try to store my field data directly in a 'field computer'. I could not get any 'rugged' equipment so I used a standard laptop. My fieldwork is mostly done along roads so it was possible to use a 'normal' laptop for 90% of the job. I have been using MapInfo for a long time and together with Geotracker from Blumarblegeo I could connect the Garmin GPS with the PC. Together with DGIS (a small software company in Stockolm) I designed an easy 'plugin' for MapInfo. With this little program I can use the keyboard to collect my positioned data. The Gps gives the position and with the ALT-key and the numerical keyboard I pick the items from a database which is actually a MapInfo TAB-file. The number of items in a database is of course restricted to 10, but creating a number of databases I can easily switch the database with buttons on my desktop. The result is a number of points containing position, type of soil(text), code(numerical), text comments, and information of how I want the data displayed on screen. It is also possible to store polygons and lines with the same attributes by using MapInfos standard drawing tools.