Posted on: 14 March 2016 by Mark Howells
A new free offline mobile app from researchers in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Earth Sciences is providing passengers with the ability to track their flights with GPS, and answer those burning questions about the terrain below them with geological maps and points of interest.Funded by the National Science Foundation, Flyover Country, analyses a given flight path and caches relevant map data and points of interest, and displays data during the flight, without in-flight Wi-Fi. By downloading only the data relevant to a particular flight path, cache sizes remain reasonable, allowing for a robust experience without an internet connection.The app integrates interactive geologic maps from Macrostrat.org, fossil localities from Neotomadb.org and Paleobiodb.org, Wikipedia articles, offline base maps, and the user’s current GPS determined location, altitude, speed, and heading. The 'What is that?' section adapted from Selby Hearth's Rocks from Above website provides a guide for interpreting and identifying landscape structures from above.The app was developed by researchers in the Department of Earth Science’s National Lacustrine Core Facility (LacCore). They include Shane Loeffler, Amy Myrbo, Sijia Ai, along with senior software development consultant Reed McEwan.In February 2016, the group announced a new, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to make continued improvements to the app.The app is available to download from Google Play and the App Store.