The workshop included a number of activities such as Valley Detectives, hosted by the Applied Geomatics Research Group (Heather Stewart, Bob Maher), which addressed the issue of invasive species. Workshop participants became familiar with the use of GPS equipment, and then applied that knowledge to plot the location of notable populations of Phragmites communis.
Upon return the locations recorded during the hike were plotted in Google Earth which Heather Stewart, shown on the right, had previously enhanced with high resolution air photos of the area.
The stated outcomes of this experience were that participants:
Used GPS satellite receivers to mark community and landscape features and to map the distribution of Phragmites communis in the Annapolis Royal marshes;
Learned about the biogeography (distribution and ecology) of this invasive species;
Experienced the research process by integrating field observations with other sources.
Overlaid their own waypoints marked during the walk onto Google Earth to create their own map, and have a new spatial view of Annapolis Royal.
Apart from the larger community and economic development objectives of the workshop, it enabled us to see how tourism can be related to community mapping and our other activities in the field of applied geomatics. It was also an excellent example of collaborative, discovery based learning.
The tablets provided by HP allowed us to take our computing resources, and software out into the community, and set up in a community hall. It extends our reach considerably and is giving rise to new venues, purposes, and methods of teaching for us.