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Title: A study of the role of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in creating an Enhanced Virtual Field Guide (EVFG) in geoscience fieldwork
Author: Cliffe, A. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 289X
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigated the role of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the creation of an Enhanced Virtual Field Guide (EVFG) in Geoscience fieldwork. This research used a pragmatic mixed methods approach to investigate the research question "How can an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle's data be used to create an Enhanced Virtual Field Guide for Geoscience fieldwork?" The thesis examines the question in four distinct sections; fieldwork, mobile technologies in fieldwork, UAVs in fieldwork and finally, the creation and evaluation of the Enhanced Virtual Field Guide created by UAV technology. To achieve this, online questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and fieldwork observations with a selection of Geoscience staff and students at two UK Universities were utilised. UAVs are a rapidly emerging commercial technology, however, their uptake and critical discussion around their potential in fieldwork with students has been limited. This study created with the guidance of those interviewed in this research, an innovative Enhanced Virtual Field Guide for students to utilise in their final year fieldwork module and assignment. Findings from this research with regards to fieldwork and mobile technologies confirms that fieldwork and mobile technologies are still an integral part of a geoscience students course and the majority of students still greatly enjoy the positive aspects of fieldwork. However, this research has discovered many unexplored darker sides of fieldwork and mobile technology use in fieldwork, such as disabilities, distractions, and lack of access for some students. In terms of the educational value of UAVs, this research showcases the many potential benefits for the fieldwork experience. Yet, this thesis highlights the many distinct and unique challenges that are attributed to UAV technologies that have and will continue to hinder their uptake on fieldwork. The value of this EVFG developed from a UAV has been shown to be a useful tool for educators and students on fieldwork as examined in this thesis, such as an improvement of efficiency in the field, deeper and more peer learning discussions in the field and for it to be an effective learning tool for both educators and students, particularly post-fieldwork.
Supervisor: Stott, T. ; Tracy, F. ; Jones, K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: G Geography (General)