Validating One-On-One GPS Instruction Methodology for Natural Resource Area Assessments Using Forestry Undergraduate Students

Daniel R. Unger

Abstract


Undergraduate students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF) at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) attend an intensive 6-week residential hands-on instruction in applied field methods. The intensive 6-week instruction includes learning how to use the Global Positioning System (GPS) with a Garmin eTrex HCx GPS unit to accurately calculate area. Students were instructed how to assess the accuracy of their GPS collected waypoints by calculating the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) comparing their GPS collected area measurements with instructor on-screen digitized area. Student’s average area RMSE between digitized and GPS derived area was 0.015 hectares, whereas instructor’s average area RMSE between digitized and GPS derived area was 0.015 hectares. Over 76% of students measured GPS area was within 5% of instructor on-screen digitized area. No difference between the students and instructors area RMSE of 0.015 hectares and high level of agreement between student measured GPS area and instructor on-screen digitized area: (1) indicates students receiving hands-on instruction in GPS applications can record accurate area measurements after only a limited 2 hour introduction; (2) the accuracy of the Garmin eTrex HCx GPS unit is not user dependent; and, (3) validates the interactive hands-on instruction methodology employed at SFA.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/hes.v4n1p94

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Higher Education Studies  ISSN 1925-4741 (Print)   ISSN 1925-475X (Online)

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