Forest Technology Students to Use Inventory App on Mobile Devices

Published 09.10.2015

Student News
School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies News

Members of the forest technology faculty at Pennsylvania College of Technology have acquired five iPad Minis and, in collaboration with Information Technology Services, loaded them with forestry-specific programming from Forest Metrix in Vermont.

In addition to use on the iPads, the Forest Metrix software can be used by students on their own iPads or iPhones at no extra charge while enrolled in the major. Penn College is the only forestry program in Pennsylvania – and one of only two in the eastern United States – to use the new technology in the classroom and in the forest.

Penn College forest technology majors Alexa L. Labesky, of Warren, and Brett A. Forney, of Millersburg, use an enhanced iPad for data collection in the woodland laboratory at the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center. (Photo by Pamela A. Mix, secretary to the ESC executive director and assistant dean of transportation and natural resources technologies)Erich R. Doebler, laboratory assistant for forest technology, spearheaded the effort to incorporate the use of personal electronic devices and the Forest Metrix software across the forest technology curriculum.

Doebler, instructor Eric C. Easton and assistant professor G. Andrew Bartholomay were researching options to replace outdated field-data collectors and software. Doebler presented this option which, with the use of Bad Elf GPS, replaced two pieces of hardware worth more than $5,000 with an iPad Mini and GPS add-on for less than $1,000.

“Students ask every year how they can obtain GPS, data-collection and forest-inventory software that is affordable to someone starting their own consulting company,” Bartholomay said. “Most students have, or can easily obtain, a cellphone or tablet. The software allows them to collect and analyze data and create professional documents while minimizing their investment in hardware and software.”

With the addition of the Bad Elf GPS device, the iPads can be used in almost all of the major courses offered in the forest technology curriculum.

“This is a huge step into the future of the forest industry in Pennsylvania, and our students will have a competitive advantage in the job market. We’re thrilled to offer our students this opportunity,” Bartholomay said.

For information about Penn College’s two-year forest technology major, accredited by the Society of American Foresters, call 570-327-4516.

For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.