Using Rocket Science to Study Rock Science

GPS Usage

Can be used to determine a few "control points" or "benchmarks" for other equipment to use.

Use the rover to determine the location of individual fossils!


  • accurate—measurements are typically within 1cm in all three dimensions
  • precise—measurements are reproducible
  • fast—feasible to record multiple points on each fossil
  • coordinates are recorded electronically and can be downloaded to a computer without manual entry
  • large area—well-situated base station may provide coverage over many square kilometers
  • flexible—can move from one quarry site to another without lengthy setup time at each change
  • can perform other surveying tasks such as a general site survey, stratigraphy, etc


  • both base and rover need a relatively unobstructed view of the sky
  • infrequently poor satellite geometry—occurs with a sidereal period
  • expense—a system at educational pricing is above $20,000
  • computerized electronic and communication equipment require an appropriate skill level and attention

gps in use

stereoscopic images

Stereoscopic images of GPS position data of a single point taken during 2004
Previous Home  Next