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Points of Interest: September 17, 2004

GPS in Biology Class. Columbus, Nebraska (Not Ohio, like original wrote. Thanks to Charley at USGS for catching that one!) students are using GPS to locate different tree species in a park. No, they are not logging data, but using the devices as "tour guides" of sorts to locate specific species. The data is stored in the GPS and forms the heart of a hands-on activity that includes collecting leaf samples from the trees. Now, if they could just reverse it and have the students locate species and store their coordinates in a new location as a test´┐Ż

Ready to carry a sensor in your phone or on your belt? The technology is just about ready for you. Several projects are underway that use people, bikes and cars as mobile sensors for a variety of phenomena - pollution, noise, etc. A specialized sensor, or even your cell phone may be one of many collectors out in the world that transmit data back to a central database to create maps and other resources for scientists and the public.

Donating RFID Readers. The folks at Digital Angel are donating RFID readers to animal shelters in Florida to help track pets lost or injured during the recent hurricanes. That is one of the challenges about the tags: no one can read them without a scanner. Moreover, how do you know the animal has such a tag? Do they wear tags about the tags on their collars?

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