Inside Rensselaer
* Geology App Created for the iPhone
Geology App Created for the iPhone

Geologists both amateur and professional will now be using their iPhones to study new rock samples. Created by a team of computer scientists, geologists, and undergraduate students at Rensselaer, MetPetDB is a new-age tool in an age-old field of study.

The iPhone application gives users the ability to search through thousands of rock samples without leaving their desk or, if they are on a field expedition, search through samples taken in their current location. As an example, while hiking up Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks, a search for surrounding samples would bring up photos of rock samples taken nearby as well as information on what type of rock they are, who owns them, the minerals present in the sample, metamorphic grade, and any scientific publications published related to the sample.

Students, teachers, and scientists now have the chance to easily sort through thousands of rock samples without getting their fingers dirty. Or, if they prefer, they can dig up their own sample and compare it to other samples in the app’s database.

The creation of the app is an example of interdisciplinary research with geologists and computer scientists coming together to bring new knowledge and tools for discovery to the masses. The project was led by professors Frank Spear in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Sibel Adali and Boleslaw Szymanski in Computer Science.

It is one of the first apps that brings scientific discovery to the popular device, according to its creators, and is already being downloaded by smartphone users around the world.

More information on the app can be found at: http://wiki.cs.rpi.edu/trac/metpetdb/wiki/IphoneApp
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 13, November 20, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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