Mobile Technologies to Support Field Research

Wayne Johnston
Head, Research Enterprise & Scholarly Communication
University of Guelph

An agricultural researcher is out in her crops making measurements and taking photographs. A political science researcher is in Ecuador interviewing indigenous people about grass-roots organizations. An entomologist is studying disease resistance of honeybees in Vietnam. Institutions develop services, technologies and infrastructures for researchers, but they tend to be left to their own devices when they are conducting research in the field. What can be done to better support data collection using mobile devices, storing data safely and securely while in transit, syncing data on mobile devices with the infrastructure “back home”? What is the role of next generation electronic laboratory notebooks? How can the data “back home” be made more accessible for consultation while in the field? What are the challenges of relying on mobile devices while working in developing countries or in adverse conditions, and how do these considerations fit within the broader context of research data management, data preservation and data sharing? In particular, what are the specific challenges faced by researchers in different contexts, and can tools and strategies be identified to address those challenges? This session offers an opportunity to delve into these topics, to share findings, and to garner input from other attendees.


Last updated:  Thursday, February 27th, 2014